Article by: Kelly Dobos
A Brief History of the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy at the University of Cincinnati: Leading the Way in Pharmacy and Cosmetic Science Education.
The James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy at the University of Cincinnati is one of the oldest pharmacy colleges in the United States, in particular, the oldest west of the Allegheny Mountains and the sixth oldest in the country. The college offers PharmD, MS, and PhD degrees and most importantly for cosmetic chemists, a specialization in Cosmetic Science.
In the Beginning
When the college was founded, there was little distinction between medical practice and apothecary. Early pharmacists were trained by apprenticeship, beginning their careers by running errands and cleaning the shops of their mentors before learning to compound and dispense drugs and other preparations.
To improve the professionalism in the field the Cincinnati Pharmaceutical Association was formed in November of 1849 and the development of a pharmacy school became an immediate goal. The Cincinnati College of Pharmacy was granted a charter by the State of Ohio on March 23, 1850 and lectures began that December under the guidance of Dr. John A. Warder, John Locke, and Edward S. Wayne. The founders sought to formalize pharmaceutical education and create compounding and purity standards.
The first lectures were held during the evening in rooms above Gordon’s Drug Store in Cincinnati at the corner of Eight St. and Western Row (Central Ave. today). William J.M. Gordon was a founding member of the Cincinnati Pharmaceutical Association who eventually left the trade for the manufacturing business. He developed a process for making pure glycerin from byproducts of the Proctor and Gamble star candle process. Glycerin continues to be a workhorse of the pharmaceutical and personal care industries.
The Civil War posed many challenges for the pharmaceutical industry in Cincinnati, as did the introduction of large-scale drug manufacture and proprietary over-the-counter products. This lead to an increased focus on educational standards and the Cincinnati College of Pharmacy was revived and invigorated in 1872. During these early years, the standard course of education was two years with the requirement of four years of work in the drug industry to gain a Graduate in Pharmacy (PhG) degree. The college expanded its student population during this time by providing potential students from outside the city with access to boarding houses for rates as low as $4.00 per week.
University of Cincinnati Affiliation
The first attempt at affiliation with the University of Cincinnati (UC) occurred in 1880. The University (McMicken College at the time) approached the pharmacy school, but the idea was resisted at first. However, by August 10, 1886 an affiliation agreement was signed that allowed the college to retain its name and administrative control, but gave students access to a broader choice of classes. In 1887 the college acquired its first building on Court St. It was also during this time period that the first woman was admitted to the program and in 1884 Mrs. H. M. Merrill became the first female graduate of the program.
The Great Depression and World War II brought enrollment and financial challenges to the pharmacy college. Subsequently, in 1949 Dean Joseph F. Kowalewski proposed a full merger with the University due to the poor financial state of the college and concerns over the potential loss of accreditation. By 1954 the merger was complete and classes moved to the brand new biology building on the campus of UC.
Cosmetic Science Program
The 1950’s also brought the beginnings of the innovative cosmetic science program. Dr. Leon Lichtin in collaboration with Dr. Leon Goldman from UC’s department of dermatology created a co-op program for dermatology students in the College of Pharmacy. Courses in formulation of emulsions and ointments were taught by Dr, Raymond Suskin, associate professor of industrial medicine and dermatology, and Dr. Ashton Wells, assistant professor of dermatology. UC formally established the first program of graduate education in cosmetic science in the United States in the early 1970’s. Since the first student graduated from the program in 1974, over 100 students have obtained MS or Ph.D. degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences with emphasis in Cosmetic Science.
The college was renamed the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy on June 6, 2007, in honor of a $10 million pledge given by the alumnus. The cosmetic science program, now housed in the Health Professions Building and Wherry Hall on the UC Medical Campus, continues to provide unique opportunities for cosmetic and personal care research.
Cosmetic Science Online
Many cosmetic industry scientists expressed a desire to further their education in conversations with faculty. But full time work, geographic distance, and frequent travel limited the ability to pursue traditional graduate degrees. Under the direction of Dr. R. Randall Wickett, an online Masters in pharmaceutical science with emphasis in cosmetic science program was designed and launched in the fall of 2006 to serve this population. There are 32 students currently enrolled in the online program and 11 past graduates.
Today, the College of Pharmacy remains one of only a handful of graduate programs with special emphasis on cosmetic science in the US and around the world. Current student research topics range from development of microstructural models for transport in skin and hair to iontophoretic drug delivery to the nails. The James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy has a long legacy of innovation and will continue to be a pioneer in pharmaceutical and cosmetic science education.
Please visit the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy and cosmetic science program at the University of Cincinnati for more information about.
And please consider making a gift to the Dr. J. Leon and Beverly Lichtin Cosmetic Science Endowment Fund which supports cosmetic science research at the University of Cincinnati.