Remember When

College of Pharmacy and Nutrition Centennial 2013-2014

College of Pharmacy and Nutrition

Displays at the Chemistry-Pharmacy Show, 1950s. Organized by the student associations in chemistry and pharmacy, a joint show was first presented as early as 1953.

An elaborate series of displays and demonstrations throughout the Chemistry Building were featured during this two- to three-day event every three years. There were even live theatre productions: a script survives for 1958’s Denatured Boy, a half-hour musical partly based on re-written Gilbert and Sullivan tunes.

By 1964, organizers were reportedly expecting 3,500 visitors. Starting in 1967, the pharmacy show was presented independently. Ultimately dubbed “Pharma-Scene,” this tradition lasted at least into the 1970s.

University of Saskatchewan Archives, Photograph Collection, A-3625

By Dean Emeritus Bruce Schnell, BSP'60

Pharmacy: an Art, a Science, a Profession

In 1913, the same year the College Building was formally opened, the University Council approved President Walter Murray’s proposal for a School of Pharmacy. Murray’s original intention was for pharmacy to be a school within the College of Medicine, however, since a College of Medicine did not yet exist, the School of Pharmacy was established as a school within the College of Arts and Science.

The school offered a one-year program leading to a Certificate in Pharmacy. Alexander Campbell, a distinguished Saskatoon pharmacist, was appointed acting lecturer in November 1913. Twenty-two students were enrolled when the first pharmacy classes began in January 1914, in shared lecture rooms and the chemistry laboratory in the College Building.

Since these humble beginnings, over 4,400 pharmacists have graduated from the college.

Here are a few highlights from the past 100 years:

  • An optional four-year Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BSP) program was established in 1916.
  • On November 7, 1918, during the Spanish Flu quarantine of the university, tragedy struck when two pharmacy students threw a party with methyl alcohol for refreshments. One died later that night, and the other was permanently blinded.
  • The school became the College of Pharmacy in 1923, and Campbell became the first dean of pharmacy.
  • In 1924, the college moved to the new Chemistry Building in space specifically designed for the teaching of the pharmacy program.
  • The Saskatchewan Pharmaceutical Association mandated the recently revised four-year BSP degree for pharmacist licensure in 1945.
  • Post-war enrollment “skyrockets” and pharmacy was given additional space in a relocated military “H” hut designated as the Chemistry Annex. This “temporary” space would serve pharmacy for the next 20 years.
  • Pharmacy moved into a new wing of the Thorvaldson Building in 1966.
  • During the 1970s, the emphasis in pharmacy practice shifted from the drug product to the impact of the drug on the patient. This new direction was called clinical pharmacy, and major revisions were made in the educational program to prepare pharmacists for their new role.
  • In 1987, the College of Pharmacy became home for the Division of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly part of the College of Home Economics.
  • July 1, 1994, the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition was established, and Jim Blackburn became the first dean of the new college.
  • The pharmacy program was granted full accreditation in 1995 by the recently established Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs.
  • Dean Dennis Gorecki, appointed in 1998, was instrumental in the establishment of The Council of Health Science Deans to co-ordinate planning for the proposed new Health Sciences facility.
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