Founded in 1885, the College of Pharmacy has continually prepared pharmacists to meet the healthcare needs of the world. Part of the foundation for the school has been the leadership from deans of the college. There have been only nine deans in the history of the program, each worked to advance the college to carry out its mission.



Emil Boerner was the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy’s first Dean and is credited with creation of the modern-day college. He received his early education in Iowa and graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1876. He returned to Iowa to open the Boerner Pharmacy that same year. In 1880, he and the President of the Iowa State Pharmaceutical Association urged UI officials to establish a pharmacy education program. The first class of 12 men and one woman enrolled in 1885, with Boerner serving as its sole faculty member. Students took other courses, such as botany and chemistry, in other University departments. Under Boerner’s leadership, the college moved to the new Hall of Pharmacy and Chemistry on the corner of Dubuque Street and Iowa Avenue in 1891.


Wilber John Teeters came to Iowa City in 1895 on a one-year appointment as a demonstrator in chemistry in the Department of Medicine. He frequently stated that he had reluctantly accepted the position because he had already made plans to enter retail pharmacy with a classmate. However, in 1901 he was hired by the College of Pharmacy as an Associate Professor. In 1903 he was promoted to full Professor and a year later was named Dean, When University policy required that he retire in 1937, he continued to actively serve the Iowa City community, and held office as mayor from 1943 to 1947, when he was 85 years old.

His main areas of interest were toxicology, sports, and the Iowa City Council. He had a lasting impact on the Iowa legal system by serving as an expert witness. He attended many sporting events and frequently served as an official at track and swim meets. Additionally, he played golf regularly. He was so dedicated and passionate about pharmacy that he regularly visited his laboratory and worked in his office until the week of his death at age 93.


Rudolph Andrew Kuever came to the University of Iowa in 1905. After graduation, despite lucrative offers in both retail pharmacy and at a large pharmaceutical manufacturing company, he accepted an assistantship in the college. Over the next 32 years at the University, he served as Acting Instructor, Instructor, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor. In 1937, he was appointed Dean. In his second year, Kuever initiated and developed the first pharmacy graduate programs leading to the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees.

During his tenure at the University, the campus became an Army training camp and Kuever joined a military training unit of young faculty members. He reported to Fort Sheridan, Ill., in July 1918 and remained there until Armistice Day later the same year before returning to the University. In 1952, he resigned as Dean and took a leave of absence. In 1954, he returned to teach full-time until his mandatory retirement. The subsequent Dean, Louis C. Zopf, encouraged him to retain his office and laboratory at the College of Pharmacy.


Louis C. Zopf came to the College of Pharmacy in 1924, following two uncles who previously graduated from the pharmacy program at Iowa. He became interested in pharmacy when he was only 11 years old, and worked in the A.J Gibson Pharmacy in Marengo, Iowa, until her became a registered pharmacist in 1926. Upon graduation, he worked at the Lent Pharmacy in Vinton, Iowa, but left to take an instructorship and manager position in the newly formed Drug Service Department at the College of Pharmacy. The department has since developed and grown extensively, due in large part to Zopf’s planning and leadership. As Dean, Zopf was largely responsible for directing the construction of the first College of Pharmacy building on the west side of campus.

1972-1984 & 1991-1992

Dale Wurster earned his bachelor of science degree in 1942 from the University of Wisconsin. Before finishing his doctorate in physical pharmacy, chemistry, pharmacology and biochemistry, Wurster served as an officer in the United States Navy during World War II and was stationed in the South Pacific from 1944 to 1946. After the war, he completed his doctorate and began teaching at the University of Wisconsin. He joined the University of Iowa in 1972 as Dean until retiring to become Emeritus Dean in 1984 and Emeritus Professor in 1986. He was a pharmaceutical scientist who spent the majority of his career in teaching, research, and university administration.

The author of more than 100 publications, Wurster's primary research activity was in dissolution and diffusion kinetics and their influence in drug-release mechanisms. He is the inventor of the air-suspension method of coating tablets, microencapsulation, and granulating techniques.



Robert Wiley earned his bachelor's degree in pharmacy from the University of Michigan in 1955 and a doctorate from the University of California, San Francisco, in 1962. He served on the faculty of the University of Kansas until 1984, when he came to the UI as Dean of the College. After his retirement in 1991, he remained a Professor in the Department of Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry. He died in 2009.

Wiley's research concerned the chemical synthesis of potential new drugs and chemical mechanisms involved in organ damage due to environmental chemicals. He founded and directed the honors program in the College of Pharmacy and was awarded a Collegiate Teaching Award three times. He served on the University's Funded retirement Insurance Committee, the university Council, the student Computer Advisory Committee, and the Old Gold Fellowship review panel.


Gilbert Banker earned his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1953 from Union University in New York. He attended Purdue University and earned a master’s degree and a doctorate, focusing on industrial pharmacy and pharmaceutical chemistry. He spent 33 years teaching at Purdue University, and in 1985 went to the University of Minnesota to become Dean and Professor of pharmaceutics. In 1992, he came to the University of Iowa to serve as Dean and Distinguished Professor of drug delivery.

Although teaching was his first passion, Banker consistently provided input to organizations and companies, including 14 different companies, 29 professional organizations, and 13 scientific, professional, or fraternal societies. His major areas of research include physico-chemical approaches employing polymer and colloid chemistry to the precise design and pharmacodynamic control of dosage forms. He also worked with the chemical and physical design of new polymers for food, drug, and cosmetic applications.

Jordan L Cohen

Jordan Cohen received his bachelor of science in pharmacy and doctorate in pharmaceutics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He served as a faculty member at the University of Southern California, and the Dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Kentucky. He came to Iowa in 1999, ultimately serving as Dean for 8 1/2 years. As Dean, Cohen oversaw the full implementation of the doctor of pharmacy program and the opening of the Dale E. Wurster Center for Pharmaceutical Services. Although he retired in 2007, he remains active in the University of Iowa community and continues to support the college.

Donald E Letendre

Donald E. Letendre became the ninth Dean at The University of Iowa College of Pharmacy in 2007. Letendre earned his doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Kentucky and began his academic career as Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas. He became Dean of the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy and Executive Secretary of the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory Commission in 2001. In Rhode Island, Letendre helped shepherd the development of the state’s first drug information service and worked with colleagues to establish a number of valuable new clinical partnerships.

Letendre has published widely and presents frequently on the topic of training programs in pharmacy. He is affiliated with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Society of Health- System Pharmacists, and the American Pharmacists Association.