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Press Release
September 8, 2005
John Nash
(843) 792-0687


South Carolina College of Pharmacy establishes state's first endowed chair in pharmacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (September 8, 2005) - A Pawley's Island family has made a gift of $1 million to the South Carolina College of Pharmacy, enabling the college to fully endow the state's first endowed chair in pharmacy.

An endowed chair is an elite faculty position supported by the investment earnings of a dedicated, permanent fund. Endowed chairs are highly prized among scientists because they provide a stable source of research funding - a rare commodity in the research community. The freedom provided by chairs makes them highly attractive to researchers and, as such, makes them effective recruitment tools.

Endowed chairs are often established by philanthropists in honor or memory of an individual. The Carol and Charles Cooper Endowed Chair of Pharmacy was established with gifts provided by the family of Charles Cooper, a 1965 graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina's College of Pharmacy.

Mr. Cooper, a well-known pharmacist and entrepreneur who founded several businesses throughout South Carolina, was actively involved with the Medical University throughout much of his life, serving on the College of Pharmacy Advisory Board and the university's Health Sciences Foundation.

He was a generous philanthropic supporter of the college and in 1993 created a scholarship fund so that future generations of pharmacy students could obtain opportunities he had come to enjoy through his education there. He and his wife, Carol, had begun finding the College of Pharmacy's first endowed chair when he passed away in August 2001, before the chair could become fully endowed.

"He wanted to establish that chair primarily to repay the Medical University for everything it had done for him in the past," said son Gary Cooper, of Pawley's Island. "But he was also a very practical man and viewed the chair as an investment in the future of the College of Pharmacy. He wanted to do something that would distinguish the college from other schools and make the state as a whole even stronger."

Inspired by Charles's belief in education and his affection for the College of Pharmacy, the Cooper family decided to mark the 40th anniversary of his graduation by fully endowing the fund he had begun in 2001.

"After he died, Mom called me and said, 'I want you to go down to the Medical University and talk to them about this chair. Charles was a man of his word, and we're going to keep this promise for him. It's our job to figure out how to make it happen.' So, as a family, we decided to honor the commitment that Daddy had made to this school," said Gary Cooper.

"I am so glad this chair will be named in honor of both Dad and Mom," said daughter Christy Cooper-Whitlock, a 1990 graduate of the College of Pharmacy. "Dad did a lot of great things with his life, but he couldn't have done any of them without her support. She knew how much he loved this college. She had so many other things to deal with after he died, but she wanted to make sure that this was taken care of. "

College Executive Dean Joseph DiPiro said the Carol and Charles Cooper Endowed Chair of Pharmacy would be used to recruit and support a nationally prominent scientist with a strong background in drug discovery, a field dedicated to developing new treatments for disease. DiPiro said the new knowledge generated by this individual would help develop more effective pharmaceutical products with fewer side effects and adverse reactions. Cancer drugs will be an area of special focus for the Cooper chair-holder, he said.

"Endowed chairs are usually associated with the top research centers in the country, so they're a powerful inducement in recruiting the nation's top scientists," said DiPiro. "The great thing about recruiting this kind of individual is that they often have 10 or 15 other scientists working in their labs, so when you get one, you get an entire team of very talented researchers.

The South Carolina College of Pharmacy was created through the integration of the state's two pharmacy schools, at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and the University of South Carolina in Columbia. The new program is expected to admit its first class in fall 2006.

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