LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Pharmacy has recognized Harold Godwin, professor emeritus, as its 2023 Distinguished Service Award recipient. Godwin, a Ness City native, served the University of Kansas for 47 years in faculty and administrative roles in the School of Pharmacy and what is now The University of Kansas Health System.
“The University of Kansas School of Pharmacy has built its stellar reputation on the shoulders of smart, caring, hard-working and personable individuals with a common pursuit of excellence in all they do. Harold Godwin is one of those people,” said Ronald Ragan, dean of the pharmacy school, where Godwin served as department chair for pharmacy practice for 20 years. Godwin was also director of pharmacy at The University of Kansas Health System for 34 years. He retired in 2016.
Godwin earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy at KU, then pursued a residency and master’s in hospital pharmacy at Ohio State University. There were only about 10 hospital pharmacy residency programs in the country, and Ohio State had one of the most highly developed programs, according to Godwin. He took what he learned at Ohio State, brought it back to Kansas and developed a hospital pharmacy program and residency program to rival the other established programs.
Developing the program “was dynamic,” Godwin said. “You had education, and you had practice. You became a colleague with the physicians, and they respected what you knew and you respected what they were doing. That was the place to be.”
Outside of his roles with KU, Godwin became heavily involved with pharmacy associations at the state and national level. He served as board president or chair for the Kansas Pharmacists Association, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the American Pharmacists Association and the Board of Pharmacy Specialties.
Godwin said the most significant change in pharmacy over his career was the transition of pharmacists from dispenser to caregiver.
“As a leader, I was pushing the envelope as hard as anybody,” he said.
As board president at ACPE, the first item on Godwin’s agenda was considering a change to the standard pharmacy degree, making it a six-year Doctor of Pharmacy degree, rather than a five-year Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy.
“That was really pivotal to set the stage, and I was part of all that. There were some unhappy campers out there in the profession who didn't think we needed a Pharm.D., but I think it’s really boded well for us today,” he said. “I really enjoyed being a change agent for the profession.”
Godwin is known as a prolific mentor, with former students found in pharmacy and health system leadership roles today across the country.
“Throughout my career, I’ve always worked to make you proud and have the pharmacy program at The University of Kansas Health System be something that you’d be really proud of,” said Rick Couldry, vice president of pharmacy and health professions for the Health System, in a recorded greeting at Godwin’s recognition ceremony May 5. “That’s been a big motivator for me. You are the building blocks that made (this program) happen.”
“Harold’s interest in me altered the course of my career,” said Janelle Ruisinger, clinical professor of pharmacy practice and a director of community-based pharmacy residency in KU’s pharmacy school. “I simply would not have had the same career opportunities and successes without Harold Godwin.”
Godwin said he often reminded pharmacy students that they should be focused on a career, not just a job.
“In a career,” he said, “you have choices, and you can grow. A career is futuristic, more so than just a job.”
In that career, Godwin said he wanted his students to be leaders, to dialogue with others and have candid discussions about how to move an organization forward.
“I was a teacher, a practitioner and an administrator,” Godwin said. “It all tied together for the sake of the profession, for the sake of our patients and for the sake of our students.”
Top right photo: Harold Godwin.
Bottom right photo: Ronald Ragan, dean of the pharmacy school (left), congratulates Harold Godwin at a KU Pharmacy recognition ceremony May 5.