COLUMBIA -- A Florida couple is giving $30 million to the University of South Carolina's pharmacy program, money the school hopes will provide pharmacy students with business skills.
"Some gifts have the potential to fundamentally alter teaching, research and the way we prepare our students," University President Harris Pastides said in a news release Friday. "This is one of those gifts."
Pastides said the gift from South Carolina alumni Bill and Lou Kennedy, of Orlando, is the second-largest in school history. The pledge was announced this year, although their names were not released at the time.
The university will receive $10 million in cash over 10 years, with the remaining money coming as a bequest to fund the program.
Bill Kennedy graduated from South Carolina's pharmacy school in 1966 and moved to Florida, where he went to work as a pharmacist.
Buying and expanding a pharmacy chain of his own, Kennedy also started a mail-order pharmacy service that eventually became a nationwide business.
In the 1990s Kennedy bought Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp., which makes sterile generic respiratory medications at its Orlando headquarters. He now serves as a consultant to the company, and his wife, a graduate of South Carolina's journalism school, currently serves as Nephron's president and chief executive.
Last summer, Kennedy testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee about access to generic prescription drugs.
"I've been in the industry long enough to see a great many significant advances," Bill Kennedy said Friday. "I'm determined to help the next generation of pharmacists develop the skills they'll need to excel in both areas as well."
Pastides said the money will help pharmacy students develop skills through a link to the business school, taking business and entrepreneurship classes in an opportunity that the pharmacy college's dean, Joseph DiPiro, said will help future pharmacist adapt to changes in their industry.
Pastides has said that about $103 million has been cut from USC's state funding in the past two years, a cumulative reduction of 46 percent. University officials said the Kennedys' gift will not offset those cuts.