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UA alum, entrepreneur donates $50 million to College of Pharmacy

The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy has a new name honoring the donor of an eight-figure investment that will add new faculty, scholarship and research opportunities to build on its stature as a national leader in the field.

Entrepreneur and UA pharmacy alumnus R. Ken Coit has committed $50 million through his family foundation to fund new endowed chairs and additional research at his old institution.

The R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy now bears his name in recognition of his gift.

Coit made the announcement with UA President Robert C. Robbins, John-Paul Roczniak, president of the University of Arizona Foundation, and Rick G. Schnellmann, dean of the College of Pharmacy. The announcement was timed to coincide with Coit's visit to campus for homecoming.

"It is my goal to see the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy take its place among the top three programs in the nation," Coit said, in a press release from the UA administration. "With this gift, the college can recruit the best and brightest students and faculty, who will go on to change the face of health care around the world."

Coit's commitment establishes six endowed chairs in drug discovery, neurodegenerative diseases and toxicology, as well as an endowment to support scholarships for the college's doctor of pharmacy and doctoral programs. 

The donation will also be used to fund strategic investments in the form of research equipment and facility upgrades, and a portion has already been used for an expanded wing of the college's museum, which will now be known as the Coit Museum of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The grand opening is scheduled for spring 2022.

The college in 2019 was ranked No. 7 by the American Associations of the College of Pharmacy's list of colleges with the most National Institutes of Health grant funding.

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Coit, who is a member of the college's national advisory board, has been a consistent supporter of the college for nearly 50 years. 

He and his family previously founded the R. Ken Coit Endowed Chair to reward excellence in teaching, and he committed $2 million to the Skaggs Challenge in 2016. The challenge helped the college achieve its fundraising goal for the expansion and renovation of the Skaggs Pharmaceutical Sciences Center, completed in February 2020. 

During the past 49 years and including this new gift, Coit has donated and pledged more than $68 million to support pharmacy education at the university.

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University of Arizona

The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy will get a a $50 million infusion to build on it's already strong national reputation.