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UB Pharmacy School Returns to City of Buffalo as Kapoor Hall Opens

By Mary Cochrane

Release Date: September 28, 2012

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Donor John Kapoor is flanked by UB Council Chair Jeremy Jacobs and UB President Satish K. Tripathi

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jovin Panthapattu feels like he's making history as he heads to class these days at the University at Buffalo.

"I'm very fortunate to be a part of history with the opening of Kapoor Hall," said Panthapattu, a PharmD candidate in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

"Each morning, when I walk toward the new building, I feel invigorated and often think 'new school, new home, new possibilities!' This motivates me to finish what I started as a freshman at UB."

In a Sept. 28 ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by New York's Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy and other dignitaries, the pharmacy school officially opened its new home, John and Editha Kapoor Hall, named for alumnus John N. Kapoor and his late wife, Editha.

Duffy, in his remarks, conveyed Gov. Andrew Cuomo's commitment to Western New York and UB.

"This is not just a new, state-of-the-art pharmacy school opening on the UB campus; this is a major investment in both the City of Buffalo and the region's healthcare sector," Duffy said. "Under Gov. Cuomo's leadership, Western New York is back on the path to economic growth, and this investment fulfills a part of the UB 2020 plan to revitalize the South Campus and surrounding area. By working together with the private sector to invest in critical projects, such as the newly opened Kapoor Hall, we are rebuilding our state's economy while creating jobs for New Yorkers."

As a college graduate in India, Kapoor received a scholarship from UB that allowed him to complete a doctoral degree in 1972. He went on to great success as a pharmaceutical industry executive and entrepreneur, but never forgot the university's generosity.

Beginning in 1986, through the John and Editha Kapoor Charitable Foundation, he has given back to the pharmacy school to support research, graduate fellowships and renovation of the South Campus facility.

The result is a stronger faculty, more of the brightest students and, now, a spectacular, high-tech facility where Panthapattu and his fellow students are following a new course of study designed to make optimal use of all the building's state-of-the-art learning and research spaces.

"My classmates and I have a new curriculum that incorporates the innovative technology in this building," he said, adding that the South Campus relocation – the move unites UB Pharmacy with the university's other health sciences schools -- "is superb.

"Every day, we get to interact with medical, nursing and other health-related professional students," Panthapattu said.

Kapoor Hall also represents a homecoming for the pharmacy school, which was founded in 1886 on the South Campus, but spent the past 35 years in Cooke and Hochstetter halls on the North Campus in Amherst. The university's second oldest entity, next to medicine, UB Pharmacy is the first professional school in three decades to return to the City of Buffalo.

UB President Satish K. Tripathi praised New York State's investment in higher education, and noted the importance of the new building not only to the pharmacy school, but to the creation of health care expertise it will generate for Western New York and beyond.

"This remarkable building is a key example of how New York State's strategic investments are creating great opportunities and furthering significant progress for UB and the region -- and far beyond. And more specifically, this new facility is an outstanding example of the forward movement that UB 2020 brings to the entire university," said Tripathi.

"Kapoor Hall will function as the center for new research and new discoveries, fueling development of new businesses, products and economic opportunities here in Western New York while addressing the most challenging health care issues that we face as a society. It's a world-class facility that will continue Dr. Kapoor's legacy for generations to come, and it's an investment in the future of our university and our communities -- one that highlights UB's national and global impact as a major research university."

Wayne K. Anderson, dean of the pharmacy school since 1995, said at today's ceremony that "this ribbon-cutting will open more than this spectacular new facility; it also begins a new era for our nationally ranked school.

"With a tailor-made new home to accommodate the next generation of pharmacy professionals, our school is considerably stronger in our mission: to prepare our students to be future leaders in their fields," Anderson said of UB Pharmacy, which ranks 17th in the United States and is the only pharmacy school in the State University of New York system.

SUNY Distinguished Professor William Jusko, chair of pharmaceutical sciences, said Kapoor Hall ensures the school's success in its mission "to create future generations of superior pharmacy practitioners and pharmaceutical scientists.

"The modern and efficient research and computer facilities will promote further growth in the scientific capabilities of our faculty and staff and especially for our trainees, our hundreds of bright and capable students," he said.

Designed by S/L/A/M Collaborative, the 147,000-square-foot structure is targeting silver certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a green building national rating system that provides standards for environmentally sustainable construction.

New York State provided $46 million of the $62 million project, with the rest coming from UB and private philanthropy; several of the building's signature spaces are donor-funded, including the Panasci Atrium, the school's informational and social crossroads, and a group of patient assessment and counseling rooms, where students' practice interactions with patients can be videotaped for later discussion.

Kapoor Hall is one element of a much larger and ongoing effort to reinvest in UB's South Campus. The UB 2020 strategic plan, with support from the NYSUNY 2020 legislation signed into law last year by Gov. Cuomo, calls for enhancements that will revitalize the quality of life on the campus and in the surrounding University Heights neighborhood. Other construction projects include renovation of Hayes and Crosby halls, home to the UB School of Architecture and Planning, as well as basic infrastructure improvements to sidewalks and roadways, exterior light and electric power systems.

Throughout the university, new faculty are being hired and new courses and programs are enriching the educational experiences of students.

For Kayla Maxwell, a PharmD and PhD student who was fascinated by chemical interactions as a child, the new Kapoor Hall, with all its contemporary features, is "biochemically speaking, the icing on the cake" of the top-notch education she and other pharmacy students are receiving at UB.

"We are so fortunate to be learning in such streamlined, attractive settings, making use of new technology to learn the latest scientific methods," she said. "I want to thank the State of New York, John Kapoor and all the donors for giving us the best in higher education. We pledge to make the most of it."