September was a big month for pharmacy at URI. It was marked by a series of events in celebration of the opening of the new $75 million building for the College of Pharmacy.
The programs brought attention to the college’s role in making the state, nation, and world healthier and in bringing in more than $83 million in federal and private research dollars since 2000, which has been reinvested in the Rhode Island economy. The events also highlighted the University’s successes in developing partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms and attracting high paying jobs.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building took place on September 4. A free public symposium, Drug Therapy in the 21st Century, was held on September 14, and an international scientific conference, Frontiers in Pharmaceutical Sciences, featuring researchers from around the world and Nobel laureate Thomas A. Steitz was held from September 28–30.
The 144,000 square-foot building is the largest academic building on the Kingston campus. In 2006, voters approved $65 million in general obligation bonds to finance the project, augmented by private donations and University funds. More than 380 Rhode Islanders were employed on the project in jobs ranging from architectural and engineering to construction.
The new facility features a $6 million good manufacturing process center that will allow URI to lead in best practices training for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as private pharmaceutical companies. It will permit the production of a wide range of human-use pharmaceuticals up to clinical trial scale.
The five-story building will also allow the college to accept more students into its six-year doctor of pharmacy program, its graduate programs, and its new four-year bachelor’s program in pharmaceutical sciences. The building will accommodate up to 820 students, a 50 percent increase from 2006 when the bond was approved.