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Alum Commits $20M for Purdue Pharmacy Leadership Academy

The Purdue University College of Pharmacy has received the commitment for a new leadership academy.

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Purdue gets $20M commitment
The Purdue University College of Pharmacy has received a commitment of $20 million for a new pharmaceutical leadership academy from alumnus Marcel Sassola III. Image courtesy of The Image Bank/Getty Images

The Purdue University College of Pharmacy has received a $20 million commitment from alumnus Marcel Sassola III (BS Pharm, Class of 1983) to establish a new leadership academy that will expand the college’s offerings and prepare a new pipeline of pharmacy graduates to innovate and lead in  health care.

The new academy, called Marcel Sassola III Leaders and Entrepreneurs Advancing Pharmacy (LEAP), will be modeled after Larsen Leaders Academy in the university’s Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and will focus on strengthening leadership and entrepreneurship among Purdue pharmacy students. 

“I felt now was the time to give back and, ultimately, pay my success forward by giving other people the same opportunities I had — or even better,” Sassola said. “Purdue and education have both always been passions of mine. I wanted to make sure my gifts would have the biggest possible impact on the university, and this was the right moment.” 

The LEAP Academy will feature a LEAP Scholars program for undergraduate, PharmD and PhD students. Students selected as LEAP Scholars will be chosen based on student leadership activities, academic record and a rigorous selection process. Scholars are responsible for: 

  • Participating in the Pharmacy Leadership and Innovation Forum class

  • Completing the Purdue Entrepreneurship and Innovation Certificate Program

  • Executing special projects and challenges designed to contribute value to the College of Pharmacy’s programs and services

  • Maintaining good standing in both academic performance and professional conduct

  • Attending two weekend events — including an off-campus leadership and entrepreneurship retreat during the fall and an on-campus retreat during the spring — that will feature “Shark Tank”-like presentations

The LEAP Scholars Academy will be coordinated by the LEAP Academy program director, which is a new position, and counseled by an alumni entrepreneurship advisory board.

“The College of Pharmacy has a proven legacy of transforming the practice and science of pharmacy to lead advances in human health and of developing graduates who display a broad range of expertise that extends to areas such as management, economics and public health,” said Eric L. Barker, the Jeannie and Jim Chaney Dean of the College of Pharmacy, and professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacy. “Through Marcel Sassola’s generosity, we will be able to build on that rich tradition and provide our students with all the tools they need to succeed as leaders and pioneers in the industry.”

Sassola is the former CEO of Santa Barbara Specialty Pharmacy and has more than 35 years of experience as a pharmacist and entrepreneur. He is a member of the Purdue Alumni Association and President’s Council, and also active in the Santa Barbara and Los Angeles communities.

“Purdue helped me build a foundation of education and simultaneously provided me the ability to learn more about who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. Giving back now makes me feel like I’ve found a missing piece,” Sassola said. “I look forward to meeting the first LEAP Scholars, serving as a steward for this exciting new program and witnessing the evolution of the College of Pharmacy.” 

Founded in 1884, Purdue's College of Pharmacy consistently ranks among the top 10 best pharmacy programs in the nation by US News & World Report

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Powder Bulk Solids Staff

Established in 1983, Powder & Bulk Solids (PBS) serves industries that process, handle, and package dry particulate matter, including the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical markets.

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