Jeff and Annette Rowe Donate $1.5 Million to Pharmacy Forward Initiative

Ferris State UniversityFerris State University has received a $1.5 million gift from alumni Jeff and Annette Rowe for the College of Pharmacy.

The gift includes funding for the renovation of the Hagerman Pharmacy Building and scholarship for students accepted into the Pharm.D./Master of Business Administration program. The Rowes have designated $1 million for the renovation of the Hagerman Pharmacy Building and $500,000 for the “Jeff and Annette Rowe Joint Pharm.D./MBA Annual Scholarship.”

The Rowes’ donation marks the second major gift for the College of Pharmacy this year. In February, Ferris received a $5 million gift from the Phil and Jocelyn Hagerman through the Hagerman Foundation. Hagerman is chair and chief executive officer of Flint, Mich.-based Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. The Hagerman donation is the largest outright gift ever made to Ferris. Like Phil Hagerman, Jeff Rowe feels fortunate as a beneficiary of a Ferris education. The Hagermans and Rowes now see opportunities to help current and future students through scholarships and a renovated pharmacy facility in Big Rapids.

“The education that I got at Ferris, and the education that a lot of pharmacists who went to Ferris got, has allowed us to practice the profession and have a really good livelihood,” said Jeff Rowe, executive vice president of operations at Diplomat. “I think that it’s very important to give back to those institutions that help you out in life. I would hope the gifts that Phil and Jocelyn did and that Annette and I are doing will help inspire others to give. If everyone gives a little each year, we’ll have enough to keep our facilities first rate, our teaching staff first rate and ease the debt load for our students.”

On behalf of Ferris, President David L. Eisler expressed his appreciation for the generosity of the Rowes as well as their commitment to the university, its College of Pharmacy and students.

“This is an extraordinary example alumni who are giving back to Ferris State University. We’re very grateful for their support,” he said. “When you consider the scholarship fund that they have established, I think it really encompasses Jeff’s career as one of the key figures at Diplomat and it combines together the idea of pharmacy and business in a way that I think reflects his life’s work. We’re grateful for their help, for their support and for their leadership in our college.”

Stephen Durst, dean of the College of Pharmacy, sees a major impact beyond the campus with respect to many pharmacists who will graduate from Ferris and work in communities around Michigan.

“The scholarships will make it much more feasible for our students to pursue this degree,” Durst said. “Our students will leave with the skills to go out and be leaders and innovators. This gift will have an incredible impact. Ferris is such a big part of pharmacy in our state. So, this gift is impacting the state of Michigan.”

Scholarship funds will help ease some financial burden for student recipients in pursuit of a Pharm.D./MBA degree.

“We were here at a time when neither one of us had very much money,” said Annette, who earned an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene, in 1977, and a Bachelor of Science in Health Systems Management in 1979. “To be able to be where we are and help someone else is what it’s really all about.”

The scholarship will be awarded to a full-time graduate student accepted into the Pharm.D./MBA program. A maximum of six $6,000 scholarships will be awarded annually. A minimum of three scholarships must be awarded to Michigan residents, annually. If three Michigan residents do not apply for the scholarship, then those awards may be made to non-resident applicants.

The Rowes are excited about what an upgraded Hagerman Pharmacy Building will mean for the program, faculty and students.

“We feel like there are some nice plans in place that would allow Ferris to turn it into a first-rate facility that students will come into and go, ‘wow, I want to go to this school,’” said Jeff Rowe, a 1979 Ferris alumnus with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. He is also is chair of the Pharmacy Forward initiative.