Community pharmacist and University of Arizona R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy alumnus John A. "Andy" Ware made an estate gift commitment establishing the John A. and Frances P. Ware Endowment prior to his death in March. The $2.3 million endowment will provide for the college's most pressing needs in the coming years.
Ware's gift helps solidify the strong reputation of the college, recently ranked No. 7 by the American Association of the Colleges of Pharmacy for grants and contracts awarded by the National Institutes of Health, said Rick Schnellmann, dean of the Coit College of Pharmacy, adding that the college is grateful for Ware’s generous gift, which will benefit many students.
"Our graduates go on to significant careers in pharmacy, business, academia and research. Andy Ware was one of those success stories," Schnellmann said. "He was a trusted pharmacist and successful businessman who continued to advocate for and enhance the field by forging a career dedicated to improving the practice of pharmacy."
Gifts given by alumni are especially meaningful, said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins.
"We exist to educate and prepare students to pursue the futures they envision for themselves," he said. "When alumni graduate, embark on their careers and then share their success with the university through their own generosity, it means we have done our job. I am very grateful that an incredible alumnus like Andy Ware has left such an indelible mark on our campus."
Robbins added that a donor's decision to create an endowment means that the impact of their gift will be felt in perpetuity, ensuring that the university can continue to pursue excellence in the years to come.
Ware's interest in the pharmacy field started early. Growing up in Southern California, he was inspired to become a pharmacist by a family friend who owned a community drugstore. While pursuing a degree at the University of Arizona, he was a member of Phi Delta Chi, a professional organization whose core philosophy comprises service, leadership and brotherhood.
Ware's career in pharmacy spanned three decades. He worked in chain stores for 19 years before purchasing a community drugstore with his wife, Frances. They ran the business together while raising a family. As a community pharmacist, Ware was trusted and respected by his patients, Frances said.
"Andy Ware was a perfect example of the positive impact pharmacists can have on their communities," said Michael D. Dake, senior vice president for UArizona Health Sciences. "His generosity will help ensure the next generation of phamacists are well prepared to contribute to health care teams that improve patient care and well-being."
After Ware was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he and his wife sold the pharmacy to buy a commercial greenhouse. Twenty years later, they sold the business and retired.
Ware never forgot his time at UArizona and the impact his education had on his life, at one point saying, "I wouldn't have anything if it wasn't for the College of Pharmacy."
"This is a meaningful way for Andy Ware to contribute to teaching and research in his profession in perpetuity," said John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation. "It's moving to know an alumnus maintained his gratitude to the university throughout his life and made this generous plan in his estate."
In 2020, the Coit College of Pharmacy selected Ware as its Alumnus of the Year, an award that honors alumni for their achievements, public service, advocacy for education, volunteerism and service. Due to COVID-19, the awards ceremony was postponed but, unfortunately, Ware passed away on March 6, 2021.
The Arizona Alumni Association posthumously honored Ware as the college's 2020-21 Alumnus of the Year at a celebration Nov. 4. Frances Ware and the couple's son, Jacob, accepted the award on his behalf.
"Sadly, Andy passed before we had the opportunity to recognize him in person, but it was my great privilege to have honored him at the 2021 University Alumni of the Year celebration and talk with his wife, Frances, at the ceremony about Andy's passion for pharmacy and his contributions to the field," Schnellmann said.