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.
2022 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
Stephen Baird, '86 BSPh, JD, of the global Greenberg Traurig law firm has more than 30 years of experience protecting brand-associated trademarks. He founded the firm’s intellectual property practice as a shareholder and opened its Minneapolis office in 2019.
After receiving his UI pharmacy degree, Baird attended law school at Iowa. During that time, he worked as a part-time community pharmacist. Following graduation, Baird completed a year-long judicial clerkship in Washington, D.C., under a senior federal court of appeals judge who heard cases from U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decisions. His decades of legal intellectual property experience, combined with his background as a registered pharmacist, allow him to serve a variety of life science, pharmaceutical, dietary supplement, and medical-device brands and companies.
Baird’s trademark and brand protection work has gained notoriety for the protection and registration of nontraditional trademarks, such as single-color marks, product configuration trademarks, and trade dress and product packaging trademarks. A prolific blogger and recognized thought leader, Baird was named the No. 1 author on trademark matters, according to JD Supra’s Readers’ Choice Awards, for two consecutive years.
Senior Vice President of Pharmacy and Healthcare Rick Gates, '95 BSPh, is responsible for Walgreens’ commercial development and sales across health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, pharma, and health system partners. This includes specialty pharmacy, clinical programs, contracting, pharmacy supply chain, and alliances. Gates is instrumental in aligning and advancing the Walgreens Pharmacy division with the Walgreens Health division. He joined Walgreens straight out of pharmacy school in 1995 and served in roles of increasing responsibility, such as store-care delivery, field leadership, Duane Reade pharmacy integration lead, and pharmacy operations -- where he led the strategic development, alignment, and delivery of pharmacy-led health and wellness programs.
Gates is dedicated to professional organizations, serving as a current board member with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Shields Health Solutions, and Pharmacy Quality Alliance. He also is executive lead for the Latino Professional Network business resource group for Walgreens Boots Alliance and an active member of the American Pharmacists Association, National Council for Prescription Drug Program, and National Association of Specialty Pharmacy.
Linda Griffey, '72 BSPh, JD, spent most of her career working in the benefits and executive compensation arena. She was a pharmacist for eight years, including three while attending Duke University College of Law, where she earned her Juris Doctor with distinction.
For more than 25 years, Griffey specialized in employee benefits and executive compensation law with O’Melveny & Meyers LLP, achieving partner. She represented employers from major corporations, private companies, committees, management groups, and individuals in the design, implementation, and administration of plans for deferred compensation, equity-based incentive, bonuses, profit sharing, and more. Her experience made her an expert witness in an executive compensation litigation matter.
Griffey has been highly involved in professional and community activities. She was a member of multiple associations and groups and volunteered as president of the Organization of Women Executives; the Los Angeles Duke Bar Association; Los Angeles County Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee; and Western Pension & Benefits Conference, Los Angeles. She has served on numerous boards of directors and advisors, including Valley Presbyterian Hospital and the UI College of Pharmacy.
Throughout her career, Shaoling Li, '94 PhD, has been passionate about developing novel therapeutics to make a difference in patients’ lives. Li started her career as a formulation scientist focusing on novel drug delivery technology and product development. She worked at various pharmaceutical and biotech companies, including Alza Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Nanopax, and Theravance.
More than 20 years later, now vice president of CMC (Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls) & Quality at Revolution Medicines, Inc., Li holds a proven track record of developing drug products from early feasibility to clinical development and commercialization. She boasts experience and expertise in various CMC functions, including analytical development, pharmaceutical science and drug delivery, process development and manufacturing, Current Good Manufacturing Practice compliance, and regulatory submission.
Li’s significant contributions to the design and development of the transdermal product Duragesic® led to the product’s commercialization. She is author or co-author on more than 20 scientific publications and a named inventor on several patents and applications. Prior to attending the UI, Li received her BS in pharmacy and MS in pharmaceutics from China Pharmaceutical University.
Past Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients*
2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
Jenelle Sobotka, ’87 BSPh, '89 PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP
Todd Semla, ’81 BSPh, '83 MS, '85 PharmD
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
*No ceremony was held in 2020.