Purdue receives $20M gift to develop pharmacy leaders
A 1983 graduate of the Purdue University College of Pharmacy has committed to giving $20 million to the school to establish a new leadership academy for pharmacy graduates, Purdue officials announced Wednesday. Marcel Sassola is the former CEO of Santa Barbara Specialty Pharmacy, which services California and five nearby states.
Purdue says the Marcel Sassola III Leaders and Entrepreneurs Advancing Pharmacy Academy will focus on strengthening leadership and entrepreneurship among Purdue pharmacy students.
Sassola spent more than 35 years as a pharmacist and entrepreneur. He says the gift is intended to help prepare a new pipeline of pharmacy graduates to innovate and lead in an ever-changing health care landscape.
“I felt now was the time to give back and, ultimately, pay my success forward by giving other people the same opportunities I had – or even better,” said Sassola. “Purdue and education have both always been passions of mine. I wanted to make sure my gifts would have the biggest possible impact on the university, and this was the right moment.”
The Sassola LEAP Academy will offer programs for undergraduates, PharmD and PhD students. Those selected to the scholars’ program will be chosen based on leadership activities and academic record and will undergo a rigorous selection process.
The cohort of scholars accepted to the academy will be required to participate in the Pharmacy Leadership and Innovation Forum class, complete the Purdue Entrepreneurship and Innovation Certificate Program, and take part in special projects and challenges designed to contribute value to the College of Pharmacy’s programs, among other requirements.
“The College of Pharmacy has a proven legacy of transforming the practice and science of pharmacy to lead advances in human health and of developing graduates who display a broad range of expertise that extends to areas such as management, economics and public health,” said Purdue College of Pharmacy Dean Eric Barker. “Through Marcel Sassola’s generosity, we will be able to build on that rich tradition and provide our students with all the tools they need to succeed as leaders and pioneers in the industry.”
Barker says the LEAP Scholars Academy will be coordinated by the LEAP Academy program director, which is a new position, and counseled by an alumni entrepreneurship advisory board.