Published May 18, 2023
After more than 30 years as an educator, mentor, and advocate, Karl Fiebelkorn, BS ’78 MBA ’88, senior associate dean for student affairs, is retiring.
Fiebelkorn earned a BS in Pharmacy from UB in 1978 and an MBA from UB in 1988. He began his career as a staff pharmacist at Cleve-Hill Pharmacy, a position he held for two years before moving to Fay’s Drugs in 1980 where he practiced for the next 15 years. He was recruited to the UB SPPS faculty as a clinical instructor (1991-1995), clinical assistant professor (1995-2008), and clinical associate professor (2008-present), serving as Assistant/Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Professional Relations from 1999-2014 and Senior Associate Dean for Student, Professional and Community Affairs since 2014.
He served as the school’s authority on pharmacy law for over 25 years, helping thousands of students pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) at a rate that consistently exceeded other New York State schools. He also worked to keep practicing pharmacists up to date through his Pharmacy Law Newsletter and the 86 law updates he provided since joining the school.
“Pharmacists have to know the legal issues no matter where they work,” explains Fiebelkorn. “There are intricate little bits of law behind the scenes that the public never sees, but the laws are all there to protect patients. As pharmacists we need to be at the forefront to make proactive changes, because the legislators are mostly not healthcare professionals.”
He served as the school’s business faculty member, teaching pharmacy management and pharmacy administration for over 30 years, advising 81 PharmD/MBA dual degree students and mentoring student teams competing in the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Student Business Plan competition, which yielded eight top-10 finishes and one first place finish. He has been the recipient of several teaching and service awards, most notably the school’s Teacher of the Year Award in 2008 and the SUNY Chancellor Award for Excellence in Faculty Service in 2019.
As an educator, Fiebelkorn always encouraged his students to pursue additional degrees and certificates to broaden their skills and become more marketable when it came to finding a fulfilling career in pharmacy. He says that seeing his students succeed has been the continual highlight of his career—and he keeps visible reminders of the impact he and his colleagues have had on tomorrow’s pharmacists.
“Outside of my office there’s a bulletin board with hundreds of thank-you cards I’ve received from students, and I keep a couple more nearby on my desk,” he explains. “I look to them for inspiration often. I strongly believe in the power of a handwritten thank-you note and make it a habit to write several a week to anyone who has taken time for me or for my students.”
Off campus, Fiebelkorn tirelessly advocated for the profession and served as a change agent, working to expand the pharmacist’s scope of practice in NYS and broadening the ways in which pharmacies can help the community stay healthy. He’s responsible for some of the most popular functions of pharmacies in New York State today, including drug takeback programs, poison prevention initiatives, and the ability of pharmacists to administer immunizations.
His professional involvement extended to service with Pharmacists Association of Western New York (PAWNY), Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY), Western New York Society of Healthy-system Pharmacists (WNYSHP), New York State Council of Health-system Pharmacists (NYSCHP), American Society of Health-system Pharmacists (ASHP), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), NCPA, and Rho Chi, where he held numerous appointed and elected posts.
Fiebelkorn received numerous awards and recognition, most notably the Pharmacist of the Year from PAWNY in 2002, the Robert M Cooper Professionalism Award from WNYSHP in 2009, and the Bowl of Hygeia from PSSNY in 2014. In 2018, he was inducted into the PAWNY Pharmacy Hall of Fame.
“Throughout his career, Professor Fiebelkorn has forged strong and durable relationships with UB student pharmacists and has maintained decades-long relationships with our alumni and those in the local and national pharmacy community,” says Gary Pollack, PhD ’84, dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “He also has been a consistent and vocal advocate for the pharmacy profession in New York State. While his concern and advocacy for our students will be sorely missed, we all wish him all the best as he embarks on this next phase of his life.”
“When someone like Karl retires, it is natural to have mixed emotions,” says William Prescott, PharmD ’02, department chair and clinical professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice. “He has positively impacted the profession, our community, our school, and our faculty and students. Like many of us, I have never known UB without Karl, neither as a student or as a faculty member; he has played a role in the success of so many, including myself. Yet, I am so very happy for Karl because he now can embark upon a new chapter.”
Fiebelkorn is still contemplating what he’ll do in retirement, but with good genes that have kept his family members going past age 100, he points out that he’s got plenty of time to figure it out. His known plans include golf, travel, and finishing a book he began writing years ago—not about pharmacy, but instead, a thriller.
Karl would like to thank his wife, Tina, for all her support in making his career a success.