Dean of pharmacy to leave UH Hilo

June 27, 2014

In an announcement made today, John M. Pezzuto, founding dean of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, will leave the University at the end of this year to assume his new duties as Professor and Dean of the Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Long Island University (LIU) located in Brooklyn, NY. Pezzuto became the first dean of the only college of pharmacy in the Pacific region when he left Purdue University in 2006.

“I came to UH Hilo from a top-ranked pharmacy college because it presented the challenge of starting a college of pharmacy where there was none before,” Pezzuto said. “My wife Mimi and I and our three children have cherished our time in the Aloha State. The decision of taking these next steps has been extraordinarily difficult. But LIU is one of the oldest pharmacy programs in the country, and I feel that I am uniquely suited to help them reach the next levels of preeminence.”

When Pezzuto arrived in Hawaiʻi, the College of Pharmacy had no offices, no staff, no students, and no assurance of a future. He methodically assembled a staff of world-renowned faculty who would build the school into what is now a contender for one of the top-25 ranked colleges in the U.S.

“It has been a great pleasure working with someone of Dean Pezzuto’s caliber,” said Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Matt Platz. “This is sad news for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, but because he has worked diligently on preparing the College for this day, I am confident we are ready for the next steps. I have no doubt his name will live on in the future of our College, and we are grateful for the work he has done to get us to this point.”

Pezzuto is well known for his research that identified the cancer-preventive component of grapes and grape products known as resveratrol. After the research report was published in Science Magazine in 1997, many more stories in scientific journals as well as mainstream media focused on the discovery that gave real promise to the fight against cancer. According to the Web of Science Core Collection, his work on resveratrol has been cited more than 3,000 times.

Most recently, he was given the top research award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), as well as an award from the Cantine Due Palme in Italy for outstanding contributions in the field of research and culture.

Prior to joining UH Hilo, he served as Professor and Dean of the College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences at Purdue University. Pezzuto has been supported by the National Institutes of Health continuously since 1977. He is the author of more than 500 manuscripts, editor of the journal Pharmaceutical Biology, holder of many patents, a member of several editorial boards, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The University plans to launch a nationwide search to identify the next dean of the College.

See more news from 2014.