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Our History

The Early Years

The State Agricultural College in Brookings opened its doors in 1884. Three years later, Pharmacy was offered as a branch of Chemistry under Professor Shepard. The first class of eleven students enrolled in 1888.

A Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy was offered as early as 1898, although for a number of years many students opted instead for the two-year Ph.G. (Pharmacy Graduate). World War I brought an interest in the cultivation of medicinal plants in the upper Midwest resulting in the establishment of the Pharmaceutical Garden, which was maintained by the College for almost 70 years. This legacy continues as a portion of McCrory Gardens.

The Program Expands

During World War II, enrollments in Pharmacy decreased as students and faculty joined the armed forces. However, after the war, student numbers rose again significantly, leveled off during the Korean Conflict, and then increased dramatically into the late 1950s.

When South Dakota State College attained university status in 1964, the Division of Pharmacy became the College of Pharmacy. In January 1981, the College moved into the Guilford C. Gross Pharmacy Building, its sixth physical home in its first century at SDSU. In June 2008, this one-story building was demolished to make space for the Avera Health and Science Center. The College of Pharmacy moved into its current home in the summer of 2010.

The B.S. in Pharmacy

In 1960, an additional year was added to enhance professional training and to broaden cultural awareness, making pharmacy a five-year program. In the 1970s and 1980s, clinical and externship experiences were introduced, and students spent one semester of the fifth year off-campus receiving experiential education.

The Pharm.D.

The freshman class of 1992 was the first to begin the pre-pharmacy curriculum for the new six-year Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. Two years later, 50 students were the first to be admitted into the professional program. They graduated in 1998. In the spring of 1993, South Dakota Board of Regents approval was finalized for the Post-B.S. Pharm.D. program, which admitted students for fall semesters 1993–1996.

The Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences

In the fall of 2000, the College became part of a consortium of departments at SDSU to offer the Masters and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, granting the first Ph.D. in the College's history in May 2007. In that same year, the College received approval to offer its own Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences and in December 2007 graduated the first student with this degree.

Addition of New Academic Programs

In 2014, the SDSU Medical Laboratory Science program became part of the College of Pharmacy. In the same year, the South Dakota Board of Regents approved an interdisciplinary Master of Public Health program. The College of Pharmacy is a partner in this program along with the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences; the College of Nursing; the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences; and the College of Education and Human Sciences. In recognition of the expanded academic programs offered, the name of the college changed to the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions in July 2016, and a new department (Allied and Population Health) was added in July 2019. The College's academic programs expanded further in 2020 with the transition of the Respiratory Care program from Dakota State University to South Dakota State University.

Throughout the College’s history, the quality and enthusiasm of our students have not changed. Our students have always been a strength for the College as evidenced by their outstanding achievements through their student organizations and individual efforts. The College has trained almost 4000 graduates, and it has earned its longstanding reputation of providing quality graduates in the health care professions.