The evolution continues
out at ACPHS, 1983
ACPHS entered the 1980s with its lowest enrollment in 10 years, reflective of a
drop in colleges throughout the country, but also heading in a brand new direction.
In 1981, the College marked its 100th anniversary with a huge celebration at the
new Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany and broke ground
for a new wing for its flagship building on New Scotland Avenue. The following year,
Dean Walter Singer '48, Ph.D., retired making way for the arrival of a new president
and dean, Kenneth Miller, Ph.D.
ACPHS celebrated graduation and its 100th birthday in style on June 6, 1981, with
a Centen- nial Dinner and Gala Centennial Ball at the plaza. A new Alma Mater was
composed for the occasion by David Miller '80, a graduate with a degree in music
from Cornell University, with lyrics written by a team of ACPHS faculty led by Susanne
Dumbleton, Ph.D., assistant professor of English. The fledgling piece was performed
that day by the Albany Symphony Orchestra.
Tech students, 1980
During graduation ceremonies, Rudolph H. Blythe '31, Pharm.D., received an honorary
Doctor of Science degree recognizing his pioneering work on the timed-release capsule,
as did Donald Brodie, a nationally recognized hospital pharmacy administrator and
educator, and William Helfand. An exhibit of Helfand's comprehensive collection
of 19 th century pharmacy and medical poster art was exhibited that fall at the
New York State Museum in honor of ACPHS's Centennial.
Another fall event, marking the anniversary of the first day of classes in October
1881, was the groundbreaking for a new two-story wing (rechristened the Rudolph
H. Blythe Wing in 2000) for a library, administration offices, classrooms and a
computer center. The $4 million expansion would provide room to grow for the College
as it embarked on its second hundred years.
The new expansion came just in the nick of time for the growing ranks of ACPHS students
who came for either the five-year B.S. in Pharmacy, the four-year B.S. in Medical
Technology or a Master's degree in Health Systems Management/B.S. in Pharmacy, offered
through the graduate program at Union College .
Road reprise on
New Scotland Ave., 1980
By the 1982-83 academic year, ACPHS needed room for a whopping 578 students, up
7.4 percent from the previous year, with 337 women and 341 men. The third-year class
in particular was a record breaker, with 149 students. Though there were 545 students
for the B.S in Pharmacy, only 33 were enrolled in the Med Tech program. The number
of women at ACPHS continued to increase and by the following year, the Class of
'88 contained 65.7 percent women. With tuition raised to $3,200, ACPHS's fortunes
seemed to be looking up.
More change for the College came in 1982 with the retirement of Dean Singer after
15 years at the helm. His successor, Dr. Miller, started at ACPHS in time for the
1982-83 academic year. Dr. Miller had earned his master's and a doctorate in Pharmacology
from the University of Wisconsin and previously had coordinated the Pharm.D. program
at Vanderbilt University . Dr. Miller had a strong interest in the establishment
of a similar program at ACPHS and one of the first changes under his watch was the
reorganization of the administrative structure at the College. Two key moves were
the appointments of Joseph Lapetina as associate dean of academic affairs and Albert
M. White as associate dean of student affairs.
Kenneth Miller, Ph.D.
ACPHS's new leader had an open-door policy and an immediate rapport with students,
listening to their concerns about the dress code, class bells and student apathy.
At least one of those issues was addressed immediately; by the following year "rustling
paper ha[d] replaced bells" at the end of class. The dress code hung on throughout
the decade, with occasional letter to Mortar and Pestle about ripped jeans, sweats,
tie dyes and shorts on campus before 5:00 p.m., when the rules were relaxed.
The new wing of the 1927 building, which recently had been named in honor of former
dean Francis J. O'Brien '20 for his many years of service to the College, was set
to open in January 1983 when disaster struck. The night before the spring semester
started, heavy rains, in combination with a layer of ice and frozen drain pipes,
led to a serious leak. Three ceiling panels came down in the library and water came
pouring in, flooding the new space and adjoining offices with several inches of
water. The "new swimming pool," as the students took to calling it, forced the postponement
of the semester by one day while the mess was cleaned up.
1985, you might as well jump!
By 1984, several changes in degree programs were ushered in at ACPHS. Although the
B.S. in Pharmacy remained, with substantial curricular changes for the third, fourth
and fifth years, as did the combined M.S. in Health Systems Management/B.S. in Pharmacy,
the four-year B.S. in Medical Technology was replaced with a program of part-time
study. The "Medical Technology Part-Time Flexible Study Program," held in the late
afternoon and evening during the fall and spring semesters and in a concentrated
format during the summers, would allow holders of an associate's degree in Medical
Laboratory Science to obtain their B.S. The last two graduates of the full-time
B.S. program in Medical Technology graduated in 1988, bringing an era to a close
Changes were in the air in terms of residential facilities as well. For the first
half of the decade, students either lived at home, in neighborhood apartments or,
for female students only, at Lima Hall at The College of St. Rose. By 1985, with
increasing enrollment, it was clear something needed to be done. The College acquired
Alumni Hall, an apartment building located at 25 Holland Ave. , and opened it to
all non-commuting freshmen. Each furnished apartment had a living area, bath and
kitchen, with access to a laundry room, pay phone and recreation room in the basement.
up Alumni Hall, 1989
Though, initially, there were "less than ideal conditions, as the purchase had only
been finalized one month before students moved in," by November the new dorm hosted
a Thanksgiving dinner for residents upon their return to school after the holiday.
Even with the new dorm, students continued to rely on the "Greeks" to form the backbone
of social life. Four professional fraternities - Kappa Psi, Lambda Kappa Sigma,
Phi Delta Chi and Rho Pi Phi - kept up an active schedule of social, professional
and service activities.
Kappa Psi and Lambda Kappa Sigma coordinated Sweetheart Weekend, a semi-formal event,
in addition to service activities such as blood drives and volunteering at Ronald
McDonald House. Kappa Psi also threw a huge Halloween party each year, sometimes
at local venues such as Guido's Playroom and sometimes in the Panther's Den. Phi
Delta Chi sponsored an annual Drug Fair and the well-attended Taco Tuesdays. Rho
Pi Phi threw a Chris-giving dinner between Thanksgiving and Christmas and educated
school-age children during Poison Prevention Week.
Psi Halloween party, 1988
Although ROPE no longer sponsored the Campus Queen dance of days gone by, they participated
in Greek Weekend with other Inter-fraternity Council members. The all-frat weekend
featured a semi-formal dinner dance as well as a costumed Toga Party. Another IFC
event was the wildly popular WAMPA (We Are Massive Party Animals), a huge picnic
that usually fell on the last day of final exams and cost just $5 for food, beverages,
bus transportation and music. The Sausage and Cheer Party also kicked off in the
'80s in a backyard on Warren Street and grew from a small gathering to an extravaganza
open to the entire school.
Greek life was not without controversy. Pledging and hazing at colleges throughout
the nation became a topic of much debate after anti-hazing laws were enacted following
the 1978 death of a pledge at Alfred University . By the end of the decade, the
future of frats at the school seemed in jeopardy and Mortar and Pestle was filled
with letters on the issue from students and faculty, both pro and con. A 1988 letter
from Dean White spoke of improvements to the pledging system and, at least at ACPHS,
the crisis seemed to be averted.
For students interested in Greek life without the partying, the Alpha Upsilon chapter
of Kappa Epsilon was chartered in April of 1989. The chapter was part of a national,
professional, co-ed pharmaceutical fraternity that sponsored both professional and
social functions, such as clothing drive to benefit a homeless shelter and ice cream
socials and picnics, with a strict no-alcohol policy.
Lambda Sigma, 1984
While the Rho Chi Pharmacy Honor Society, recognizing scholastic ability, already
was firmly ensconced, 1983 brought a second honorary society to the College with
the formation of the Omicron chapter of the Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership
Society. With Dean White a founder and president of the national organization, one
of the first chapters in the country was established at ACPHS. Other professional
organizations at ACPHS during the decade included the student branches of the American
Chemical Society, Pharmacy Society of the State of New York , Northeastern New York
Society of Hospital Pharmacists and Albany County Pharmaceutical Society. The Academy
of Students of Pharmacy formed at the College in the late '80s. All students were
welcome to discuss issues and legislation affecting pharmacy and the Political Action
Committee gave the group a voice in what the pharmacy profession would be in the
Awareness Club, 1989
Another new group was founded at the College in 1985 when Mainak Amin '87 organized
the International Cultural Awareness Club. Dedicated to celebrating and exploring
the diversity of cultures around the world, the group sponsored multi-cultural dinners,
dances and outings to the theater and ethnic restaurants.
Other clubs and organizations included the Student Council, Circle K, Drama Club,
Music Ensemble, Film Club and Photography Club, while publications included Mortar
and Pestle , Alembic Pharmakon and the literary journal Panther Tales.
The literary-minded also were accorded a rare opportunity to meet some of the stellar
literary figures of the time through the "Living Writers" program at ACPHS, coordinated
by Dr. Dumbleton. Toni Morrison, William Kennedy and Nadine Gordimer all made appearances
at the school during the program's tenure. Gloria Steinem, who had been instrumental
in the founding of New York and Ms. magazines, was another of the "gadflys" whom
the program attracted. According to Mortar and Pestle , those invited to participate
were "well-known irritants who refuse to accept the status quo as inevitable and
urge others to rethink their world view."
The musically inclined had a chance to perform in the annual Coffee House, an integral
part of Parent's Weekend. The music, both instrumental and vocal, ranged from the
silly to the serious. Those who couldn't sing could be seen around campus with the
headphones of their Sony Walkmans clamped to their ears as they listened to Michael
Jackson, Wham, Pat Benatar, Culture Club, Bon Jovi, Talking Heads, Cyndi Lauper
and the Pretenders.
basketball champs, 1984
For those more interested in athletics, sports at ACPHS during the '80s included
successful golf, bowling, women's cross country and men's and women's soccer and
basketball teams. Dorothea Palen was the women's cross country Northeastern Athletic
Conference champ in 1982. By the end of the decade, the women's basketball team
had taken home three first-place NAC trophies, including the 24-1 season of 1985-86
led by Martha Naber '86 and Rita Leighton '86. The men's basketball team underwent
a big change in 1989 when John Denio, after 12 years, 125 wins and two NAC titles,
announced his decision to stop coaching.
The memorable snowstorm
of October 4, 1987
With a heavy academic load and plenty of opportunities for extra-curricular activities,
sometimes students just needed to kick back and relax. Classmates celebrated the
hard work of a rigorous five-year Pharmacy program with a series of parties that
marked their progress.
The fall semester kicked off with a Champagne Breakfast at Ralph's on the Park.
On a designated date in October, beginning at 8:00 a.m., Ralph's served eggs, sausage,
bacon, rolls and tater tots, plus champagne and orange juice. One impromptu opportunity
to let off steam occurred when a freak snowstorm in October 1987 caused the unheard-of
cancellation of classes at ACPHS and led to widescale snowball fights. A typical
year in the '80s also included the Halfway, Four-Fifths, Count-Down and All the
Soon even those milestones would change as ACPHS entered the '90s and got ready
for a new six-year Pharm.D. program.