Friday, September 16, 2016

Michael J. Akers, ’72 PhD, and Christopher J. Decker, ’88 BSPh will be recognized with the 2016 University of Iowa College of Pharmacy Distinguished Alumni Awards on Sept. 29, 2016. The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the theory and practice of pharmacy or have demonstrated major accomplishments in a professional pharmacy practice, or in pharmaceutical research and development.   

Michael J. Akers, ’72 PhD


Michael Akers earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind. and a PhD in Pharmaceutics from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy, where his major professor was John L. Lach.

In his 40-year career, Akers was employed in various scientific and administrative positions at Searle Laboratories in Skokie, Ill.; Alcon Laboratories in Fort Worth, Texas; the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy in Memphis, Tenn.; Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, Ind.; and Baxter BioPharma Solutions in Bloomington, Ind. He was involved with the development, manufacturing, and regulatory filing of many new drug applications (NDA) and NDA supplements. 

He was active in elected leadership positions in the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) and Parenteral Drug Association, and is a Fellow of AAPS. He was editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, for 16 years. He has published over 100 research articles, teaching articles, review articles, and book chapters, and authored or edited six books.

Christopher J. Decker, ’88 BSPh


Chris Decker is a 1988 graduate of the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. Following graduation, he completed an executive internship at the Iowa Pharmacy Association (IPA), followed by two years of employment at IPA in the role of associate director. Decker credits the success he has had in pharmacy association management to the professional development he received during the early years of his career path, including from Tom Temple, ’77 MS; Matt Osterhaus, ’80 BSPh; and Bob Osterhaus . 

In 1990, Decker moved to Wisconsin, assuming the position of Executive Vice President of the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin. During his time there, he was instrumental in bringing together the two pharmacy associations in Wisconsin to form the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin (PSW) in 1998—a national first at the time. PSW is commonly recognized as one of the nation’s leading state pharmacy associations.  PSW’s success is due, in part, to the leadership Decker provided during his 25 years as its chief executive. 

Decker held leadership roles in state and national pharmacy organizations including as president of the Wisconsin Pharmacy Foundation, president of the National Council of State Pharmacy Association Executives, and chairman of the Wisconsin Patient Safety Institute.