Peers and colleagues thank DiPiro for eight years as dean
Colleagues, friends and peers gathered at the Smith Building last week to say thank you to Joseph T. DiPiro, Pharm.D., for eight years of leadership as dean of the School of Pharmacy.
DiPiro is stepping aside as dean but plans to continue teaching and will serve as associate vice president of faculty affairs. A nationwide search for DiPiro’s replacement has begun.
Department chairs Dave Dixon, Doug Sweet and Umesh Desai hailed DiPiro’s support of research and scholarship, which has led the school to new heights of grant funding and a record number of patents and invention disclosures. Cynthia Kirkwood, executive associate dean at the pharmacy school, celebrated DiPiro’s approach to leadership as service.
Art Kellermann, who as vice president for health sciences and CEO of VCU Health will continue as DiPiro’s boss, noted how DiPiro’s modest demeanor belied his remarkable accomplishments. VCU President Michael Rao offered a recorded tribute.
Beginning June 16, 2022, K.C. Ogbonna, the school’s associate dean for admissions and student services, will serve as interim dean. Ogbonna thanked DiPiro for his friendship, mentorship and guidance — and, like others at the event, noted DiPiro’s prowess as a runner and long-distance bicyclist.
In his brief, modest remarks at the celebration, DiPiro thanked those in attendance. “A lot has been said today about my accomplishments,” he added. “But all of you must know that they are not my accomplishments. They are your accomplishments. You all did this.”
A legacy of caring and strategic success follows DiPiro, who after eight years as dean of the VCU School of Pharmacy has stepped aside from the role. On top of overseeing the School of Pharmacy’s trajectory into a top-20 national ranking, Dr. DiPiro and his wife, Cecily, established a pharmacy scholarship that has thus far impacted the lives of six students. Endowments to the School of Pharmacy doubled under DiPiro’s leadership, philanthropic gifts quadrupled, and the number of annual donors increased by 40%. The percentage of underrepresented minority students in Pharm.D. classes doubled during his tenure — leading to the School of Pharmacy twice being named VCU’s top division for diversity and inclusive culture.
In addition, DiPiro guided the launching of the nation’s first Ph.D. program in pharmaceutical engineering, in partnership with VCU College of Engineering. Adding to that bevy of accomplishments, the School of Pharmacy exceeded its ambitious $12 million Make it Real fundraising campaign goal.
The dean now can add the MCV Foundation’s W. Robert Irby Award to his long list of recognitions. The award honors a faculty member who has shown leadership in fund raising for the university.
DiPiro is a 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, where he’s also a Fellow 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. Dr. DiPiro was elected a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
A published author of more than 250 journal papers, books, book chapters and editorials, DiPiro earned his B.S. in pharmacy (Honors College) from the University of Connecticut and his 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. Prior to joining the VCU School of Pharmacy, he spent more than two decades on the faculty of the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy before serving as executive dean at the South Carolina College of Pharmacy.