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UA appoints Rick G. Schnellmann as new College of Pharmacy dean

Headshot of Rick Schnellmann
Medical University of South Caro
Headshot of Rick Schnellmann

Rick G. Schnellmann, a UA graduate, and leader in pharmacology and toxicology, has been appointed dean of the UA College of Pharmacy. 

“I am personally pleased and think I can speak on behalf of our group up here in Phoenix, that we are all pleased with the decision and are looking forward to him coming,” said Philip Schneider, professor and associate dean for academic and professional affairs at the College of Pharmacy’s Phoenix Biomedical Campus.

Schnellmann, who received his doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology in 1984 from the UA Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine, started working on Aug. 1 as the new pharmacy dean. 

The former dean, Jessie Lyle Bootman, was indicted for multiple sexual offences committed against a former business colleague on Oct. 28, 2015. The university placed Bootman on paid administrative leave quickly after the indictment and shortly thereafter removed him from the position as dean. 

Bootman was originally charged with sexual assault, sexual abuse and aggravated assault. In May, a grand jury added the charges of kidnapping and drugging the alleged victim, according to the Arizona Daily Star. 

RELATED: UA College of Nursing ranks #1 in Arizona

Schnellmann’s experience prior to becoming dean includes a variety of jobs throughout the pharmacy field:

  • At the Medical University of South Carolina, he was both chair of the college’s Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences and a Distinguished University Professor who was recognized as an Eminent Scholar.
  • Schnellmann also served as editor of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and as the associate editor for both the American Journal of Physiology and the Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology journal.
  • He has also authored more than 28 book chapters and published over 180 peer-reviewed publications and reviews.

Schnellmann said during his time at MUSC he proposed some initiatives to the research community, one of them being an educational initiative aiming to support, expand and develop dual degree programs for graduate students and pharmacy students.

“In South Carolina they had two colleges of pharmacy and decided to merge those campuses into one, much like we have here at the University of Arizona in Tucson and Phoenix,” said Schneider. “He has some experiences in linking those two campuses and the challenges that go along with that—those are some things that are specific to our impressions of him and why we think he would be a good leader for the college.”

RELATED: UA and Banner receive $43 million research grant from NIH

Schnellmann’s research, which has been funded since 1987, is centered around developing drugs for treating strokes, Parkinson’s disease, diabetic kidney disease and more.

“The College of Pharmacy in Arizona has been an excellent and outstanding school for a long period of time,” Schnellmann said. “I did my graduate work and received my PhD in pharmacology and toxicology and I had a wonderful experience so I’m excited to coming back to a place that really helped me a lot in my professional career. I get a chance to give back.”

Schnellmann said at the UA he hopes to expand toxicology, add to the Drug Discovery and Development Program and add to the Precision Medicine Initiative.

“What I need to do is listen and learn, it’s been many years since I’ve been [at the UA] and there’s a lot of things I don’t know,” Schnellmann said. “So the first thing I need to do is listen and learn.”

The college is ranked in the top third of colleges of pharmacy regarding the external funding attained for research, according to the college’s website. Additionaly, it has been rated as the 16th best pharmacy graduate school according to U.S. News & World Report.

Follow Angela Martinez on Twitter.

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