Coit funds 2nd faculty chair at the college

Ken CoitAlumnus Ken Coit, BSPharm 1967, has established the second endowed chair for faculty at the UA College of Pharmacy with a gift of $1 million. Theodore Tong, associate dean, will be the first faculty member to hold the chair.

Chairs are gifts made to support the endeavors of specific faculty at an academic institution. Endowed chairs are permanent funds in which the principal is held in perpetuity and only the interest generated by the principal is expended annually.

Coit, who is a member of the college’s National Advisory Board, founded the R. Ken Coit Endowed Chair to reward an excellent teaching professional who is outstanding and dedicated in service to students and teaching. Tong, who has been at the college nearly 30 years, serves as professor and associate dean of academic and student affairs.

“The new endowed chair that Ken has established is a boon to the college,” says J. Lyle Bootman, dean. “In the face of diminishing state support of the university, this gift will help us to continue to pursue our mission of providing outstanding education and services to our students. To that end, Ted Tong is the perfect choice to be the first chairholder.”

After graduating from COP, Coit practiced pharmacy for only a couple of years before switching careers to real estate investing. Although he didn’t spend a lot of time in pharmacy, he credits his professors at COP with instilling in him the values that made him successful.

“I may not be a pharmacist now, but I learned a lot in pharmacy school that’s still important to me,” he says. “My professors demonstrated high ethical standards and integrity, and taught me how to take care of patients. They really instilled that we were there to take care of others. I kept and transferred that value when I changed to investing.

“I had some incredibly good professors there,” Coit remembers. “People like Dr. [Albert] Picchioni. I’ll never forget his pharmacology class! That’s the kind of person whose work I want to support with this endowment gift…. I want future pharmacy students to have great professors like I did.”

The R. Ken Coit Endowed Chair was announced during a college faculty meeting Sept. 26 and will be celebrated by Tong and Coit at a dinner Nov. 17.

The only other endowed chair for faculty at the college is the Howard J. Schaeffer Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences, held by Professor Laurence Hurley. It was established in 1997 by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and is named for a former National Advisory Board member who was a Burroughs Wellcome Company executive and the developer of a highly successful antiviral drug.