When Dr. Ian Mathison was selected as the dean of Ferris State University’s College of Pharmacy in 1976, the study and practice of pharmacy was dramatically different than it is today.
Under Mathison’s leadership, the College of Pharmacy has successfully met a host of new challenges, continuing to provide its students with an innovative, relevant education — in the interest of graduates’ professional success, as well as the health of the patients those graduates go on to serve.
With the assistance of then-Associate Dean Stephen Durst, Mathison collaborated with the Grand Rapids Medical Education and Research Center for Health Professions and the Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies to pioneer Ferris’ multi-campus model. This effort allowed for the development of a six-year Doctor of Pharmacy degree and made Ferris’ College of Pharmacy the largest in Michigan.
When he retired in late 2010, Ferris State University and the College of Pharmacy Alumni Board chose to honor his 34 years of dedication to excellence in pharmacy education and practice by creating the Dr. Ian Mathison Legacy Scholarship Endowment. Designed to recognize students who have shown leadership ability during their university studies, the scholarship celebrates a dean whose academic college flourished amid profound changes to the pharmacy profession and curriculum.
Ferris President David L. Eisler acknowledged these and other achievements in his comments at a February ceremony announcing the Mathison Endowment. “Ferris’ College of Pharmacy was extremely fortunate to have someone of Ian’s energy and intellect to see it through this dynamic period of growth and development that took place between the mid-70s and today,” Eisler said. “The profession of pharmacy has become much more complex during Ian’s tenure, and he did more than simply keep pace with those changes; he was one of the innovators who moved the profession forward.”
Mathison was particularly pleased with the scholarship’s purpose. “I was very honored and humbled when the College of Pharmacy Alumni Board and alumni established this fund, especially because it recognizes students who have demonstrated leadership during their college careers. For this fund to be directed to supporting those students is truly wonderful,” he says. “The reward of educators is the success of the students who pass through their programs.”
Eisler also spoke of the broader effects of Mathison’s contributions. “We have seen him encourage Pharmacy grads to become innovators and entrepreneurs, playing a vital role in the growth of the profession and our economy,” he added. “I cannot even begin to imagine how one quantifies the number of people who have benefitted from his graduates, and their knowledge and dedication as pharmacists in Michigan and across the country. This is truly a record of uncommon impact and accomplishment.”