Profile in Giving: Paul Hastings ’84

Paul Hastings has worked for some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and been a key player in several biotechnology firms that are developing some of the most promising treatments for cancer, multiple sclerosis, and macular degeneration.

Whether working in Europe, Connecticut, or California, Hastings has remained close to the College of Pharmacy, and especially to Professor Emeritus Norman Campbell and his wife, Mary.

When an opportunity arose to help the college and its students, as well as honor his mentor, he added a 10-year, $100,000 pledge to his initial $15,000 donation, which bolsters the existing Norman A. and Mary Campbell Scholarship.

“He taught me about leadership and embracing diversity,” said Hastings, now the president and CEO of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, a three-year-old company in Redwood City, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley. The company is researching novel medicines that target a new class of solid tumor cancer stem cells.

“I gave to the scholarship because of the incredible impact Norm had on my life,” said Hastings, who has more than 20 years of experience as a biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry executive. “He was an amazing teacher, mentor, coach, and counselor, as >well as a caring person. To this day, every time I visit the University and the college, the first words out of his mouth are about students and what they have accomplished, obstacles they are overcoming or activities they are participating in.”

A native of Portland, Maine, Hastings described what he said were academic and life-altering obstacles while he was in Kingston. He experienced severe relapses of Crohn’s disease and endured two major surgeries, as well as many hospital stays. One of the surgeries removed his entire colon.

“Every time I was about to fall flat on my face, I picked myself up with the help of many friends,” Hastings said. “With the love and support of my fraternity brothers, our house mother Sarah, my friends and classmates, and supportive professors like Norm, I made it.”

In remission for 20 years, Hastings said his University lessons have remained with him. “I discovered academic lessons did not come without the expense of life lessons, and 23 years later, I cherish both.”

He said Campbell was an important part of those lessons. “Norm taught me how to stick my neck on the line for others by doing it for me.”

Hastings chose to provide additional scholarship support because like many students today, he relied on his own resources to get through school. “I know how good it feels to be awarded financial aid and scholarships when you think you will never be able to afford college on your own. I want to give back and help someone else get through what is, today, a much more expensive educational experience.

“I want to give more, and I hope to do that if I take my newly formed start-up company public one day.”

By Dave Lavallee ’79, M.P.A. ’87

Photo Provided By Paul Hastings