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UA College of Pharmacy receives $1.25 million for scholarships

Courtesy Elizabeth O’Connell

The UA College of Pharmacy has a $1.25 million scholarship fund with the help of the ALSAM Foundation to help students combat rising tuition costs.

The UA College of Pharmacy received a $1.25 million grant from The ALSAM Foundation, the largest donation the college’s scholarship endowment has ever received.

Dr. John Murphy,associate dean for academic affairs and assessment at the College of Pharmacy and professor of pharmacy practice and science, said he expects the donation to contribute $50,000 to student scholarships every year in perpetuity.

“Because tuition is increasingly more expensive for students, being offset with scholarships such as these make dramatic differences in a person’s ability to be successful and reduce the debt they carry,” Murphy said. “The college is very grateful to the ALSAM Foundation for doing this on behalf of our students and making their lives that much better.”

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This donation was part of the Arizona Now campaign, the UA Foundation’s most ambitious fundraising endeavor in the school’s history, according to Barry Benson, senior vice president of development, campaigns and communications at the foundation.

“The campaign seeks to enhance the student experience, enable our innovative thinkers and expand the UA’s reach,” Benson said.

The Arizona Now campaign hoped to raise $1.5 billion by June 2018. Thanks to the generosity of donors from all 50 states and 55 countries, the campaign has already raised over $1.46 billion, according to Benson.

The ALSAM Foundation, created by Samuel and Aline Skaggs, designated that the donation be placed in the Skaggs Scholarship program.

The Skaggs Scholarship program, founded in 2013, currently provides a $5,000 renewable scholarship to 10 full-time UA students in the pharmacy doctorate program who meet certain academic and financial requirements.

The Skaggs Scholarship is named for Sam Skaggs, a successful entrepreneur in the food and drug business, who passed away in 2013. The Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences facility on campus also bears his name.

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Luciano Lucky Castaneda, a student in the pharmacy school, is a three-time recipient of the Skaggs Scholarship. This extra support allows him to focus on his academic studies.

“The amount of the scholarship helps me so I do not have work as many hours,” Castaneda said. “The pharmacy program is great.”

The professors work closely with the students and the program teaches clinical skills so one day graduates can diagnose patients and even prescribe medication, according to Castaneda.

After graduating, Castaneda said he hopes to complete a residency then move back home to Yuma. Once there, he wants to give back to his community and all those who helped him throughout his education.

Thanks to the ALSAM donation, the Skaggs Scholarship will be able to provide assistance to more students like Castaneda for many years to come, Murphy said.

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