Pharmacist turned investor gives back to COP

Pharmacy didn’t fit his personality. Making the College of Pharmacy stronger definitely does.

Ken Coit graduated from UA with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1967. After practicing in a hospital, community pharmacy and discount pharmacy in California, he knew the profession was not for him.  In 1970, he left pharmacy to join a friend in real estate investing.  There he found his niche, one that has brought financial success and personal satisfaction for four decades.

“I always liked investing,” Coit says. “When I was a pharmacy student, I took an elective about the stock market.  I just didn’t know then investing was what I was meant to do.”

Over the years, Coit built his skills, working with a real estate syndicator, raising money for apartment complexes, completing an MBA degree from Pepperdine University as a part-time student, joining up with another partner in 1981 to launch what became a very successful financial planning practice that developed successful tax shelter investments for physicians and executives.

“I’m a hard worker and determined to win at what I set out to do,” he says.

When tax changes came in the late 1980s, adjusting to the new scene was just another business opportunity. He began to take over problem apartment properties in California and take on new partners who complemented his skills.

“I’ve only lost money on a California apartment investment one time in 38 years,” he says. “We started with 1,000 units and now Coit Financial has 8,000 and we’re still growing. 

“Maybe my best talent has been choosing really excellent partners. I’ve always been able to find people who brought just what was needed for success.”

That’s an asset Coit applied to his personal life early on, too.

“I picked my wife, Donna, because she was smart,” he says with audible pride in his voice. “We’ve been married since 1977 and I’ve been as fortunate in my marriage as in my business. She’s a marvelous woman, and a ‘rock.’ Her Type B personality has been the perfect complement to my Type A.”

The Coits have four grown children, and Ken’s love for them bursts right through the phone line when he speaks of Kristin,(the 418th employee hired by Google, which now employs 23,000); Darren (an engineer with Intel who is finishing an MBA at the University of Texas); Shannon,(who is applying now for law school next fall); and Lauryn, (who is part of the management team of a 540-unit apartment property).

Happy father and husband, successful businessman - Ken Coit has built a very good life. In thanks, he plans to share some of his good fortune with the College of Pharmacy.

“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 believe that my first responsibility is to take care of my clients, and I think that has been the foundation of my success. It makes sense to give back to the college for teaching me that value.”

Coit plans to endow a faculty chair at COP this year.  He wants it to help “top of their class” professors reach new heights at the college.

“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 learned from my mother when I was growing up in central California in a middle class farming community that we all had to help other people in whatever ways we can. I remember taking clothes we’d outgrown to school for migrant workers. I really learned about helping others from her when I was young.

“Now I’m in a position to give in a much bigger way to one of the places that helped me on the road to success. I want future pharmacy students to have great professors like I did.”