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UNE dedicates College of Pharmacy

September 28, 2009

The University of New England welcomed a diverse class of students to its new College of Pharmacy fulfilling a need to educate more healthcare professionals and build the state's economy with its emphasis on research and development. 

On Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 UNE hosted Governor John Baldacci for a dedication ceremony at the College of Pharmacy on Stevens Ave. on UNE's Portland Campus.


The research orientation of UNE's College of Pharmacy makes it different from most other pharmacy schools in the country and any other pharmacy school in northern New England. 

Last year, the College received a $4 million grant from the Maine Technology Asset Fund.  The grant supported the completion of research labs designed to facilitate drug discovery and development at UNE.

"We appreciate the efforts of the University of New England to continue to meet the needs of the State and the region," said Governor Baldacci. "UNE is educating health professionals in Maine at a time when we need them most."

"The research and development that will be done at University of New England's College of Pharmacy will help to build Maine's economy for the future by creating jobs, providing a state-of-the-art research facility and providing the State with much-needed, well-trained pharmacists," said the Governor.

A shortage of pharmacists is expected to get worse in the next decade, according to U.S. Pharmacist Magazine.  UNE received close to 800 applicants for the 100 seats.  One-third of these future pharmacists were UNE Pre-Pharmacy students.


The inaugural class of students is diverse and includes students from northern and southern Maine, the region, and from as far away as Cameroon, Africa.  Some came from non-traditional backgrounds, some have families and are looking to transition to a new career.  Some would like to be pharmacists when they graduate and some would like to pursue careers in research.  See a sampling of student profiles below.

"We are proud to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy degree program to our inaugural class of students who will help meet the growing need for these healthcare professionals in the state of Maine and throughout the region," said UNE President Danielle Ripich, Ph.D. 

The College of Pharmacy joins UNE‚Äôs Westbrook College of Health Professions on the Portland Campus.  UNE educates more healthcare professionals in the state than any other college or university.

UNE's College of Pharmacy offers the Doctor of Pharmacy as the entry-level professional degree that prepares students for careers as pharmacists and/or pharmaceutical scientists. The Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree is awarded after successful completion of four years of professional study. A minimum of two years of undergraduate pre-professional education is required for admission, followed by four years of professional studies.

The new building that will house the College of Pharmacy was built by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards.  It is the first building in the state to use highly efficient "chilled beams" to provide heating and cooling to offices, classrooms and laboratories. 

A "heat wheel" recovers more than 80 percent of the heating and cooling from the air discharged outside the building.  The roof overhang was designed to provide shade for the building windows at the peak of summer, and let the sun shine in on winter days to provide solar light and heat.  Environmentally sustainable materials were used throughout the building including Forest Stewardship Council certified wood that is harvested in an ecologically sound and responsible way.  Bricks for the exterior of the building were made locally by Morin Brick of Auburn to minimize transportation of materials for the project. 

Student Profiles

Michael Dougan
Michael Dougan grew up in Hancock (near Acadia National Park).  He had been doing hardscaping with stone, brick and bluestone since graduating from the University of Maine in 1994.  A married father of two young daughters he says, "I actually enjoyed my time landscaping but this is a whole new world.  It's great to be surrounded by such an intelligent, interesting and diverse class.  I plan to work locally after graduation, probably in retail but the field offers many options."

Stephanie Chase
Stephanie Chase is a native of Bangor and worked at the independent pharmacy, Miller Drug Store in her hometown when she was a senior in high school, returning after earning her bachelor's degree in physiology and neurobiology in 2008 from the University of Connecticut.  "I am proud to say that I am part of the inaugural Class at UNE's College of Pharmacy.   I knew UNE had successful programs in the health sciences, and when I visited was amazed with the new pharmacy building and the distinguished professors on staff and their extensive backgrounds in all aspects of pharmacy practice."

Jason Boyce
Jason Boyce is a native of Syracuse, New York who had been a teacher and coach for a number of years before pursuing pharmacy work in retail and hospital settings.  "My interests lie in veterinary pharmacy, introduction of bacteriophage use in wound care settings, and pharmacy administration and legislation.  My initial impression of UNE is terrific.  The physical facility is loaded with state-of-the-art academic technology, the faculty is highly credentialed, diverse and approachable, support staff is friendly and informative, and the University as a whole has ties within the community that I find helpful and important."

Naima Maalin
Naima Maalin was born in Moqudisho, Somalia a couple of years before the civil war that is still ongoing today.  She and her family immigrated to Portland in 1996.  Prior to joining the inaugural College of Pharmacy class, she was a pre-pharmacy student at UNE's Biddeford campus.  "I have many plans for after graduation but initially I want to become a community pharmacist.  It would be nice to get involved in community outreach and education.  Volunteering has always been a passion of mine and I hope to continue helping people as much as possible after attaining my degree."

Rachel Mayer
Rachel Mayer grew up in Raymond, graduating from Gray-New Gloucester High School in 2006.  She is a graduate of UNE's pre-pharmacy program.  "I was impressed with the pre-pharmacy program's small and personalized classes, and this program seems to be the same.  After working at a retail pharmacy for four years, I am looking forward to experiencing different fields of pharmacy.  I am interested in pursuing either hospital pharmacy or pharmacy education.  I love working hands on with people and I would love to educate others about health and medicine."

Gemoh Sama
Gemoh Sama is originally from Cameroon, Africa and has lived the past five years in Sterling, Virginia where he completed his pre-pharmacy studies at Northern Virginia Community College while volunteering at organizations including hospitals in the northern Virginia area.  "My plans upon graduation are to work in pharmacy marketing or get into academia after a number of residencies.  My initial impression of UNE is very positive from the very nice people you meet on campus, through the great reputation of being a leading school in osteopathic medicine as well as its very first, very diverse, very determined and promising inaugural class of the school of pharmacy, hosted in a state-of-the-art brand new energy efficient building."

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