About the Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to individuals who have made distinguished contributions to the theory and practice of pharmacy or have demonstrated major accomplishments in a professional pharmacy practice, or in pharmaceutical research and development.   

Awardees have managed or directed organizations that have made noteworthy national or international contributions to the pharmacy profession. They have contributed truly exceptional service to their community, the College, the profession, or the public. The individual must be a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy.

To nominate an individual for this award, please follow this link.

2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

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Jenelle Sobotka

Jenelle Sobotka is a nationally and internationally recognized pharmacy leader. Her various roles and professional involvement have given her numerous experiences in advancing the pharmacist's role in patient care and in developing strong leaders for the pharmacy profession. Sobotka received her Bachelor of Science in pharmacy in 1987 and her Doctor of Pharmacy in 1989 from the University of Iowa.

Sobotka was recruited to Procter & Gamble where she served as global director of Professional Relations at their headquarters in Cincinnati. After 12 years at P&G, Sobotka left to join the faculty of Ohio Northern University to support education in practice advancement and leadership development for the Doctor of Pharmacy program. In 2016, Sobotka was hired by the University of Cincinnati to develop their new Graduate Program in Pharmacy Leadership.

Sobotka has also had extensive volunteer involvement with pharmacy associations at the state, national and international level. She was elected president of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) for 2012-2013. Sobotka also has over 20 years of global experience with the Federation of International Pharmacists (FIP), currently serving as chairman to the Board of the FIP Foundation and Treasurer to their Academic Section. She has given numerous national and international presentations on pharmacy, as well as published several articles, book chapters and co-authored a book, " A Practical Guide to Pharmaceutical Care."



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Todd Semla

Todd Semla is a three-time graduate of the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy having received a Bachelor of Science in 1981, a Master in Clinical/Hospital Pharmacy in 1983, and a Doctor of Pharmacy in 1985. He stayed at Iowa to complete the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (ASHP) fellowship in geriatric pharmacotherapy in 1986 under the direction of Dennis Helling.

Semla spent his career in academia and government service. In 2018, he retired from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) Service where he was the national PBM clinical pharmacy program manager for Mental Health and Geriatrics. He has been a clinical associate professor of Medicine in General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine since 2003.

Semla is a fellow in the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) and the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). He has been the leas author of the "Geriatric Dosage Handbook" since its first edition in 1995 and he continues to update this resource monthly. He is the author or co-author of more than 60 original refereed publications and presented more than 30 original scientific works at national and international meetings. Semla's proudest and most rewarding achievement is his 41-year marriage to his Iowa classmate, Susan, and the accomplishments of their three children Marie, Colleen and Peter.

Past Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients 

Ronald Betts, ’73 MS, PhD
Ann and Timothy Lehan, ’76 BSPh

2018 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients 

Elizabeth A. Chrischilles, '79 BSPh, '81 MS, '86 PhD
Marilyn and Matthew Osterhaus, both '80 BSPh

2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients 

Sue Purcell, ’74 BSPh
William Stagner, ’73 BSPh, ’77 MS, ’79 PhD

2016 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Michael Akers, BA, ’72 PhD, MBA 
Christopher Decker, '88 BSPh

2015 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Terry Dahl, '83 PhD
Miekeleen Hart, '79 BSPh

2014 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Dennis Erb, ’84 PhD
Stephen Mullenix, '74 BSPh