The honors and pharmacy colleges have been renamed to recognize $75M in gift commitments

The honors and pharmacy colleges have been renamed to recognize $75M in gift commitments

By University Alumni and Development Program
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The Honors College now bears the name of William A. "Bill" Franke, whose family has made a gift commitment of $25 million to benefit students and faculty in the college.
The Honors College now bears the name of William A. "Bill" Franke, whose family has made a gift commitment of $25 million to benefit students and faculty in the college.
More students will be able to participate in study abroad thanks to a $25 million gift from the family of William A. "Bill" Franke, shown here signing the gift agreement. (Photo by Giuseppe DeMasi)
More students will be able to participate in study abroad thanks to a $25 million gift from the family of William A. "Bill" Franke, shown here signing the gift agreement. (Photo by Giuseppe DeMasi)
(From left) Alumnus R. Ken Coit laughs with John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation, and Ron Shoopman, member of the Arizona Board of Regents, at the College of Pharmacy renaming event on Nov. 5.
(From left) Alumnus R. Ken Coit laughs with John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation, and Ron Shoopman, member of the Arizona Board of Regents, at the College of Pharmacy renaming event on Nov. 5.

Two colleges have been renamed in recognition of two gift commitments totaling $75 million, bringing the number of named colleges to six out of 20.

The first renaming was announced during Family Weekend, while the second was announced during Homecoming.

The W.A. Franke Honors College

The Honors College was renamed the W.A. Franke Honors College in recognition of a $25 million gift commitment made by William A. "Bill" Franke, his wife, Carolyn, and the Franke family. The Frankes' gift provides student scholarships, stipends to defray the cost of living in the Honors Village, and funding to help students develop global leadership skills through participation in study abroad. 

The gift supports faculty through establishment of an endowed chair for the dean and the development of an Honors Faculty Academy. Faculty who integrate excellence in research with excellence in teaching and mentorship will be inducted into this academy and offered financial awards that may be used for research or teaching.

The gift begins a new chapter in the history of the college, said Dean Terry Hunt.

"We're at an important juncture. We're in a new building, and the W.A. Franke Honors College is poised to become a top honors college in the country. This support means we can serve our students well, and they will indeed be very successful," he said.

During the Oct. 9 renaming event, attendees heard from Honors College student and Franke Scholar Jennifer Garnica, a senior majoring in nutritional sciences who plans to become a physician.

The naming of the college will bring more value and prestige to her degree, Garnica said, adding that she's pleased the gift will help future students with the costs of studying abroad. Garnica was awarded a scholarship to study in Asia and found the experience "life-changing."

The R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy

The College of Pharmacy was renamed in recognition of a $50 million gift commitment made by alumnus R. Ken Coit through his family foundation.

Dean Rick Schnellmann, joined by President Robert C. Robbins, announced the gift on Nov. 5.

Coit's commitment establishes six endowed chairs in drug discovery, neurodegenerative diseases and toxicology, as well as an endowment to support scholarships for the college's doctor of pharmacy and doctoral programs. The gift will also be used to fund strategic investments in the form of research equipment and facility upgrades, and a portion has already been used for an expanded wing of the college's museum, which will now be known as the Coit Museum of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The grand opening is scheduled for spring 2022.

Coit, a 1967 graduate of the college, said he is determined to see the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy become one of the nation's top three programs, a goal he characterizes as "one step under audaciousness." The college is currently ranked No. 7 by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

"I think the six chairs I'm funding and the amount of research dollars that can generate will have a real impact, a solid impact, on the world," he said. "It's possible that one of the professors whose work is being funded through this gift will make a big breakthrough in cancer research, for instance, or neurodegenerative diseases. If you don't fund the research in the first place, you never know if you're going to make progress."

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