ACPHS In The News


President Toyin Tofade in front of the ACPHS library
February 15, 2024

Throughout the month of February 2024, ACPHS's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team will help us recognize the contributions of various Black health care leaders. Follow along on our social media channels and in our weekly Campus Connections enews. Developed by first-year DEI work study students, Angelina Reish, pharmacy, and Tobias LaFountain, microbiology. 

President Toyin Tofade is the 10th president of Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the first African American to hold this role. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with master’s in pharmacy practice and doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degrees. She learned a great deal during her time at UNC, not only about pharmaceutical practices but also about living in the United States. Before coming to this country, she never considered people being counted as lesser or insignificant based on skin color. This is because there was no cause for such discrimination in Nigeria at the time. Decades ago, females were treated differently, and women were mostly permitted only to go into careers that allowed time for a family. Her mother encouraged her to pursue pharmacy as a career choice. Since her father was a pharmacist and a dean, she thought she would try it. After Pharmacy Fair Week, she was hooked.

President Tofade brings her uncommon perspective to ACPHS to create a welcoming college with deep roots in the surrounding community. Her perspective is fashioned from her upbringing; her professional experience as a professor at UNC, assistant dean at the University of Maryland and dean at the Howard University College of Pharmacy (a historically black college/university); the experience of being a mother; knowledge from her mentors; her faith; and many other life experiences. Having a unique background puts her in the position to make choices with the ACPHS Board of Trustees that will benefit people of all demographics.

President Tofade’s goal in accordance with the Strategic Plan is to engage with communities – local, regional, national and international. To achieve this goal, she leads the College in efforts to reach out to the community and underrepresented minorities, including through expanding the Collaboratory and encouraging overall community engagement.

To President Tofade, Black History Month is a time to celebrate African Americans: to reflect on how African Americans were treated in the past, pushed through despite significant opposition and collaborated with allies, and to recognize their past and current achievements.

She shared that her church, Jubilee Christian Church International, celebrates Black History Month and international heritage by partaking in traditional foods, customs and clothes; telling the story of key Black individuals and cultures; and recognizing African American scientists and other key African American figures who made an impact on our society.

President Tofade’s advice for success begins with consideration of the people around you: Identify those who encourage you and those who discourage you; listen to everyone but believe in yourself and stay focused on your goals. Have mentors in every aspect of your life to guide you to your goal. They can be professors, upper-level students, research mentors or anyone else who can encourage you in any part of your life.

President Tofade has been fortunate to have many mentors and encouragers throughout her life, especially Dr. Natalie Eddington and Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, both influential African Americans. Dr. Eddington was the dean at Maryland University when President Tofade was assistant dean. She kept President Tofade on track to become the dean and more. When President Tofade doubted herself, she gave her the encouragement to continue. When President Tofade needed help, she gave it to her. When President Tofade did not need any assistance, she got out of the way and let her skills bloom. Dr. Hrabowski served The University of Maryland Baltimore County for 33 years before retirement. His integrity, excellence in leadership and approach to higher education and interaction with people has inspired President Tofade since they met. President Tofade expressed her gratitude to God for all the influential people He has put in her life and the opportunities that have presented only by the grace of God.