Our HistoryAs a student at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, you’re tapping into a tradition of professional leadership.
Our College assumed a front-line role at its founding in 1864, replacing unstructured pharmacy education with a progressive program of formal instruction. Led by such local luminaries as Henry Shaw, founder of the Missouri Botanical Garden, John O'Fallon, businessman and nephew of explorer William Clark, and railroad President Isaac Sturgeon, the College became the first of its kind west of the Mississippi River. Its classes in a rented room on the fourth floor of the St. Louis Medical College—roughly where the left field concourse of the new Busch Stadium now stands—launched the fourth oldest pharmacy college in the United States. Not long afterward, College leaders added advancing the profession to their mission of educational excellence.
We’ve upheld both of those goals. Through the years, the College has been in the vanguard of pharmacy education. Not just because we were here first. During the 1870s, we were among the first in the entire nation to offer a chemistry laboratory course, and to divide students into junior and senior classes to provide a more thorough education. And Henry Whelpley, a prominent national figure in pharmacy who served as our dean between 1904 and 1926, further strengthened our College education by requiring full-time, daytime attendance during an era of part-time, evening pharmacy education. Those are just a few examples of the educational leadership we take pride in providing. We’re still evolving to meet the increasingly rigorous demands of today’s changing health care profession, adding to and adapting our curriculum to ensure that what you learn reflects the latest professional developments. Our brick and mortar presence has mirrored our growing role in pharmacy education. We went through a series of homes—ranging from those first rented rooms to our own three-story Victorian-style building in the downtown business district—before settling down in the Central West End’s vibrant medical community in 1927.
Yet as we’ve grown, we’ve kept our eyes on the big picture. We’re as committed as the College’s founders were to making a real difference in the pharmacy profession. So your professors are practicing pharmacists who not only teach but also regularly demonstrate how to meet patient needs while serving as a community resource. And we’re working to develop collaborative research programs to advance pharmacy and medical care in general. Lofty goals—but we’ve attained them before.
Historical information from John P. Winkelmann’s “History of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy” and Robert Zebroski, STLCOP associate professor of history