Monday, March 26, 2007

North Pacific College...of Pharmacy

A most perplexing question from a patron has given me a good excuse these past few days to spend a little more time getting to know the North Pacific College, ancestor of our own OHSU School of Dentistry. While I have yet to master the chain of name changes (University of Oregon Dental School, North Pacific College of Oregon, North Pacific Dental College, Oregon College of Dentistry, Tacoma College of Dental Surgery--whew!), I did learn more about a significant aspect of the college that is usually overlooked: for over thirty years, the dental school was coupled with an equally active School of Pharmacy.

In the annual announcement for the 1924-25 session, we learn this about the institution's history:
"[North Pacific College of Oregon] was organized and received its charter from the State of Oregon as a school of dentistry in 1898.... In 1908 the scope of the college was enlarged and a department of pharmacy was created....

"The rapid advance made by North Pacific College among the educational institutions of America is shown by the fact that over sixty-five percent of the entire student body come from outside of the State of Oregon, over half the American states and almost all Canadian provinces and several foreign countries being represented."
The announcement for the 1929-30 session adds this fact:
"The growth of the institution will be better appreciated by a comparison of the attendance of 18 students (the first year) in 1899 when the institution was exclusively a College of Dentistry, to more than 700 students of pharmacy and dentistry in attendance in 1922..."
By 1941, however, the College had decided to focus its attention on dentistry alone and the pharmacy curriculum was discontinued, bringing to an end one of the earliest four-year pharmacy schools in the nation.

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