Senator Daniel K. Inouye
Senator Daniel K. Inouye (September 7, 1924 – December 17, 2012)

A historical perspective: How the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy began

“The conception of the College of Pharmacy came from the Island, with a higher religious power helping along the way." -- Pat De Leon, Former Chief of Staff to Senator Daniel K. Inouye

By all reports, the credit for spurring the University of Hawai’i to start a College of Pharmacy on Hawai’i Island goes to Senator Daniel K. Inouye, the senior U.S. senator from Hawai'i, and his inimitable chief of staff, Patrick "Pat" De Leon. In 2000, Sen. Inouye was 76 years old and had been the U.S. senator for Hawai’i since 1963.

At a time when many people leave new ideas to the younger generation, Inouye was still working to bring the islands of his state together. Every island in Hawai’i has its own potential and unique characteristics to ad a specialty to the university system. Each neighbor island will harbor centers of excellence; this was Senator Inouye’s vision. He believed every island should have its own specialty. For Hawai’i Island, it was to be the only College of Pharmacy in the Pacific region.

A timeline of major milestones in the beginning includes:

1998- Concept introduced by Hawaii Pharmacy Leaders.

2000 – First discussion of creating a college of pharmacy began between the local pharmacists and University of Hawai’i at Hilo

2001- Senator Inouye secures funding support to develop a comprehensive long-term strategy for establishment of a clinical pharmacy program at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo

2002 - Pharmacy clinical training grant funded through the federal Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), spearheaded by Senator Inouye.

2003 - Feasibility study conducted by external consultant

2004 - Submission to System for request to plan a Pharm.D. program at UHH

February 6, 2004 – community votes to approve the new College of Pharmacy at a forum sponsored by the UH Hilo Congress

March 31, 2004 – UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng presented testimony before the Committee on Higher Education at the Hawai’i State Legislature to encourage a College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo.

April 26, 2004 - Lawmakers authorized $18.4 million for planning, design, construction and equipment for a Pharmacy building at UH Hilo.

September 2004 – The Board of Regents requests reorganization to establish the College of Pharmacy upon concerns over financing the project.

October 2004 - BOR approves the reorganization to establish College of Pharmacy at UHH and positions and hiring of a Dean

October 2005 - Chancellor Tseng requests BOR for approval of the creation of a College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and authorize recruitment of a Dean for the College.

June 2006 - John M. Pezzuto appointed as Founding Dean.

2006 – Hawai’i State Legislature approved funding for initial core team, and Board of Regents approves organizational structure, degree program and curriculum.      

February 2006 – UH Hilo’s College of Pharmacy received affiliate institutional membership in the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the the national organization representing pharmacy education in the United States.      

2006 -WASC Substantive Change Committee reviews proposal from UH Hilo to offer Pharm.D. professional pharmacy program.

May 2007 – The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) conducts first site visit to UH Hilo

June 2007 - ACPE approved Pharm.D. program at UH Hilo for pre-candidate accreditation status. With this designation, UH Hilo becomes the first school recognized by ACPE to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy degree in the State of Hawai’i.

August 2007 – The Inaugural class of 2011 began classes at UH Hilo.

June 2007 - University’s College of Pharmacy has achieved the first step in the Pharmacy School Accreditation Process. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) has granted the College of Pharmacy Pre-Candidate Status.