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History and Former Deans


The College of Pharmacy traces its origins to the University of Tennessee's Knoxville campus in 1898. The School relocated to Memphis in 1909 to join the city's College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The resulting institution became part of the University of Tennessee in 1911 when its medical and dental schools were moved to Memphis. The school received college status in 1959, consistent with the other colleges of UTHSC Memphis. Today, UTHSC  with 2,000 students and 3,000 employees – is one of the nation's leading academic health centers. The History of the College of Pharmacy  follows the college from its inception in 1898 to the present.


Dean Bliss
Dean from 1926-1933. Credit: ©alex ginsburg PHOTOgraphics

Until 1926, the School of Pharmacy did not have its own dean, but functioned as part of the College of Medicine. Dr. Andrew R. Bliss, Jr., author, inventor, teacher, and one of the nation's leading pharmacists, came to the university in 1923 as Chief of the Division of Physiology and Pharmacology in the College of Medicine.

Dr. Bliss received his PhG from New York College of Pharmacy, his PhC from Columbia University, his MA and LLD from Howard College, and his MD from the University of Alabama. Appointed in Spring 1926 as the first dean of the School of Pharmacy, Dr. Bliss reorganized the school and increased the number of faculty members to 30 by 1933. After seven years as dean, he resigned to become Director of Webster Laboratories in Memphis and later served as the first dean of the pharmacy school at Howard College (now Samford University) in Birmingham, Alabama.

Nine-page biography of Dean Bliss,  reprinted from The Mask of Kappa Psi (July 1935).

Dean Crowe
Dean from 1936-1953. Credit: ©alex ginsburg PHOTOgraphics

A native of Dyer County, Tennessee, Dr. Crowe received his PhC degree from Ohio State University and was recruited to the UTHSC College of Medicine to enroll in medical school and play on the UT Docs football team. While in medical school, he was in charge of the dispensary and taught pharmacy and pharmacology.

Turning to teaching as his life's work, he did not receive his medical degree, but was licensed to practice medicine anyway. Dr. Crowe treated patients in his office throughout his tenure on faculty. He was appointed Professor and Chief of the Division of Pharmacy in 1925 and Dean of the School of Pharmacy in 1936.

Dr. Crowe nurtured and guided the School into one of the largest and best pharmacy schools in the nation over the next 17 years. Active with the Tennessee General Assembly lobbying for the School and profession, Dr. Crowe's name was synonymous with pharmacy in Tennessee, and he knew every pharmacist in the state personally, UTHSC alumni or not. He served as Dean until his death on July 26, 1953.

Dean Goldner
Dean from 1953-1959. Credit: ©alex ginsburg PHOTOgraphics

Dr. Goldner, a native of Minneapolis, received his BSPh, MS, and PhD degrees at the University of Minnesota and taught dispensing pharmacy, quantitative pharmacy, and chemistry at the University of Wisconsin before joining the School of Pharmacy faculty in 1940. During his deanship, the first graduate program, a master’s program in hospital pharmacy, was begun. He was a member of Sigma Xi and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. After his resignation from the deanship in 1959, he continued to serve many years at UT as Professor of Pharmacognosy and as Secretary of the Memphis and Shelby County Pharmaceutical Society.

Dean Feurt
Dean from 1959-1975. Credit: ©alex ginsburg PHOTOgraphics

On March 1, 1959, at age 36, Dr. Dick Feurt became Dean of the School of Pharmacy. A native of Missouri and World War II veteran, he earned his BSPh degree at Loyola University of the South in New Orleans, and his MS and PhD degrees from the University of Florida.

Prior to his UTHSC tenure, Dr. Feurt was Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Georgia, where he was a co-inventor of the tranquilizer gun, a tool used in wildlife management. Dean Feurt's accomplishments at the university are significant, including the change of name to College of Pharmacy, recruitment of acclaimed teachers and scientists to the College, new graduate programs in the pharmaceutical sciences, and the beginning of the PharmD program in 1968. He was described as "a young man, full of vigor, energetic, aggressive, bold, and seething with ideals." He founded the Tennessee Pharmacy Tripartite Committee to bring the profession together in Tennessee.

Dr. Feurt served as dean until his death on January 19, 1975. Because of their respect, members of the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy and Tennessee Pharmacists Association, in cooperation with the University, started the Seldon D. Feurt Memorial Fund to honor Dr. Feurt and provide private funding for scholarships, fellowships, research grants, and other needs of the College.

Dean Autian
Dean from 1975-1982. Credit: ©alex ginsburg PHOTOgraphics

Dr. Autian, a native of Philadelphia earned his BSPharm at Temple University and his MS and PhD at the University of Maryland. He arrived at UTHSC College of Pharmacy in 1967 from the University of Texas and started the Materials Science Toxicology Laboratories, which reached a level of national and international prominence and helped establish new federal regulations on medical devices. In 1973, Dr. Autian was named the first recipient of the UT National Alumni Association Public Service Award. He served as President of the UTHSC Faculty Senate and was Chair, Department of Molecular Biology. He was named Dean of the College of Pharmacy on August 1, 1975. Dean Autian pushed for approval of the PharmD degree as the entry-level degree in pharmacy.

He served as dean until 1982, when he was named Dean of the UTHSC Graduate School of Medical Sciences and Vice Chancellor for Research, serving until his retirement in 1985. After retirement, Dr. Autian worked tirelessly as an international humanitarian and health science educator and was a proponent of the Memphis Biomedical Research Zone.

Dean Ryan
Dean from 1982-1989. Credit: ©alex ginsburg PHOTOgraphics

The Missouri native received his BS Pharm degree at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and his PhD in pharmacy administration at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Ryan joined the UTHSC College of Pharmacy faculty in 1972 and was named Assistant Dean in 1977, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 1979, and Executive Associate Dean of the College in 1983. Dean Ryan's administration brought innovative changes to the College, beginning in 1984 when the PharmD course of study was incorporated for all pharmacy students, one of the first schools in the nation to do so. The first UTHSC all-PharmD class graduated in 1988.

A particular strength of Dr. Ryan's deanship was the improvement of relations between the College, alumni and pharmacists across Tennessee. Following his tenure at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Ryan served as Dean of the School of Business and as Vice President for Advancement at Christian Brothers University in Memphis.

Dean Gourley
Dean from 1989-2011. Credit: ©alex ginsburg PHOTOgraphics

The first UTHSC alumnus to serve as Dean of the College of Pharmacy, Dr. Gourley, a native of Paducah, Kentucky, received his pre-pharmacy education at UT Knoxville, where he played varsity baseball for the Volunteers. He earned his BSPh in 1969 and his PharmD in 1970 from the UTHSC College of Pharmacy. After graduation, he served on the faculties of Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy and the University of Nebraska College of Pharmacy. He also served five years at Mercer as Dean and as Provost of the Atlanta campus.

Under Dean Gourley's visionary leadership, several innovative programs were initiated, including international affiliations, the PharmD/PhD dual-degree program, and graduate programs were dramatically expanded. Three endowed professorships were begun or filled.

Dr. Gourley was a founder of the International Foundation for Pharmacy Education and served as a member of the APhA Board of Trustees. Beginning in 1993, U.S. News & World Report listed the UTHSC College of Pharmacy as one of the best pharmacy schools in the nation.

Dean Chisholm-Burns
Dean from 2012-2022.

A native of New York, Marie A. Chisholm-Burns, received her BS in Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from The University of Georgia and her Master of Public Health from Emory University. She became Dean of the College of Pharmacy in 2012. Dr. Chisholm-Burns is the founder and director of the Medication Access Program, which increases medication access to solid-organ transplant patients. She served in numerous elected leadership positions in several different professional organizations, has worked in multiple pharmacy settings, and is a member of the National Academies of Practice.

Dr. Chisholm-Burns is considered a prolific scholar due to her numerous publications and grants. She has been recognized with several awards and honors, including the Medical Book Award from the American Medical Writers Association, the Robert K. Chalmers Distinguished Pharmacy Educator Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Clinical Pharmacy Education Award from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, the Daniel B. Smith Practice Excellence Award from the American Pharmacists Association, and the Nicholas Andrew Cummings Award from the National Academies of Practice.

Additionally, she has received the Award of Excellence from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the Pharmacy Practice Research Award from the ASHP Foundation Literature Awards Program, and has been a two-time recipient of the Rufus A. Lyman Award for most outstanding publication in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.



Nov 21, 2023