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Ogbonna named interim dean, beginning in June

By Greg Weatherford
VCU School of Pharmacy

After eight years as dean of the School of Pharmacy at VCU, Joseph T. DiPiro, Pharm.D., has announced plans to step aside from that role and fully into his recently announced position as associate vice president — faculty affairs, effective at the end of the spring 2022 semester. 

“It has been a privilege to be the dean for the past eight years,” DiPiro said. “I am pleased that we have many talented individuals on our faculty and staff who will keep our program going strong. I am proud to say that together we have made it through some difficult challenges the past few years. That is a tribute to our faculty, staff and students and their hard work.”

DiPiro, who holds the rank of professor, plans to continue teaching at the VCU School of Pharmacy. 

“I’ve reluctantly accepted Joe’s decision, but take comfort in the fact that he’ll continue to serve VCU in other teaching and leadership roles,” said Art Kellermann, M.D., the senior vice president for health sciences at VCU and VCU Health. “Over the past eight years he led the School of Pharmacy to unprecedented heights by emphasizing a collegial, supportive environment for learning, research, teaching and service. He’s also a consummate team player who is highly regarded throughout the university and within academic pharmacy nationwide.  It is a tribute to his leadership that VCU School of Pharmacy excelled across so many areas even during the difficulties brought by the current pandemic.  

“Those are the qualities that led me to select him as associate vice president for Health Sciences Faculty Affairs, and I look forward to working closely with him as we strengthen all of the health professions schools at VCU.” 

A search for a new dean will begin soon. Beginning in June, Kelechi “K.C.” Ogbonna, Pharm.D., will serve as interim dean.  

Joseph T. DiPiro, Pharm.D. 

DiPiro joined VCU in 2014 as dean, professor and Archie O. McCalley chair at the School of Pharmacy. Under his leadership, the School of Pharmacy has consistently been ranked among the top pharmacy schools in the nation. 

Among other accomplishments, under Dean DiPiro the School of Pharmacy:

  • Tallied record highs for NIH funding and private giving;
  • Won the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Lawrence C. Weaver Transformative Community Service Award;
  • Launched a Ph.D. program in pharmaceutical engineering, the first in the U.S., in partnership with VCU College of Engineering;
  • Exceeded its $12 million fund-raising goal for the university’s Make It Real campaign;
  • Doubled the percentage of underrepresented minority students in Pharm.D. classes;
  • And was twice named VCU’s top academic division for diversity and inclusive culture. 

He is past president of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and past chair of the Council of Deans. He has served as president of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy; he also is a Fellow of the college and has served on the Research Institute Board of Trustees. He has been a member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, having served on the Commission on Therapeutics and the Task Force on Science. DiPiro was elected a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Photo of Dean Joseph T. DiPiro

“I am pleased that we have many talented individuals on our faculty and staff who will keep our program going strong.”
— Dean Joseph T. DiPiro

DiPiro is lead editor for “Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach,” now in its 12th edition, and the ASHP Pharmacy Forecast. He served as editor of The American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education for 12 years. He is also the author of “Concepts in Clinical Pharmacokinetics” and editor of the Encyclopedia of Clinical Pharmacy. He has published over 250 journal papers, books, book chapters and editorials in academic and professional journals.

DiPiro received his B.S. in pharmacy (Honors College) from the University of Connecticut and Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Kentucky. He completed a residency at the University of Kentucky Medical Center and a fellowship in Clinical Immunology at Johns Hopkins University. He served on the faculty of the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy for 24 years and then as executive dean at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy from 2005 to 2014.

Kelechi “K.C.” Ogbonna, Pharm.D.

Kelechi “K.C.” Ogbonna, Pharm.D., is currently associate dean for admissions & student services at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy. In addition to his administrative role, Ogbonna’s responsibilities include didactic and experiential education in the area of geriatric pharmacy practice. Ogbonna’s research focuses on leadership development, student success, community engagement, medication utilization and healthy aging. 

Among other accomplishments at VCU, Ogbonna helped spearhead the Richmond Health & Wellness Program, which has provided care to more than a thousand community-dwelling older adults and served as a training ground for thousands of students across multiple health professions. This program is the backbone of what is now the VCU Health Hub at 25th. 

Ogbonna completed his PGY-1 residency and PGY-2 geriatric pharmacy residency within the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. He earned his Pharm.D. from The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences and holds a  Master’s degree in Health Administration from VCU.  

Categories Dean Search 2022, Faculty and staff news, Faculty news