ATLANTA – Dr. Hewitt W. (Ted) Matthews, senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the College of Pharmacy, has announced plans to retire at the end of the academic year, and Provost Dr. D. Scott Davis has appointed a search committee to help identify and recruit a successor to Mercer’s longest-serving academic dean.
Upon his retirement in 2017, Dr. Matthews will have led the College of Pharmacy for 27 years, matching the tenure of Dr. Oliver Littlejohn, who was dean of the Southern College of Pharmacy when it merged with Mercer in 1959 and served in that capacity until 1984.
“Finding a successor to Ted Matthews is going to be a challenge because of the outstanding leadership and long tenure he has given the College of Pharmacy,” Dr. Davis said. “The new dean will have big shoes to fill, but I am confident the search committee will help us identify a leader for the College who will further advance its distinguished track record of excellence in pharmacy education and research.”
The search committee will be chaired by Dr. Nader Moniri, associate dean for research and associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences in the College of Pharmacy. Other members of the committee include Dr. Ajay Banga, chair and professor of pharmaceutical sciences and co-director of the Center for Drug Delivery Research; Dr. Susan Miller, chair and professor of pharmacy practice; Dr. Grady Strom, vice chair and associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences and director of the College of Pharmacy’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning; Nicole Metzger, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice; Ed Schutter, Mercer trustee, College of Pharmacy alumnus and president and CEO of Arbor Pharmaceuticals; Larry Braden, College of Pharmacy alumnus, former Mercer trustee, current member of the College of Pharmacy Board of Visitors and president of Lacey Drug Co.; and Dr. Priscilla Danheiser, dean of Mercer’s Penfield College.
Dr. Matthews began his association with Mercer as a student. After earning a degree in chemistry from Clark Atlanta University in 1966, he enrolled in Mercer’s Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees (1971 and 1973 respectively) in pharmaceutical biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he was a National Institutes of Health Pre-Doctoral Fellow and a Fellow of the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education. His alma mater in the fall of 2015 awarded him with a Citation of Merit, one of the highest awards given by the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He completed postdoctoral work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Hospital Infectious Disease program.
He joined the faculty of Mercer’s School of Pharmacy in 1973. His commitment to teaching excellence earned him the Outstanding Teacher Award. Over the next decade, he held a number of administrative as well as faculty positions, including associate dean for the School of Pharmacy and assistant provost of the University. After serving for a year as interim dean, he was appointed dean of the School of Pharmacy in 1990. Over the years he has received numerous awards from state and national pharmacy and pharmacy education organizations.
Dr. Matthews was instrumental in establishment of the Mercer Health Sciences Center, and in 2012, was named senior vice president for health sciences, in addition to his responsibilities as dean of the College of Pharmacy.
“Ted Matthews has been an extraordinary leader in the Mercer community for well over four decades. He has been a visionary leader in the health sciences, launching Mercer’s Physician Assistant and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs, leading the University to establish the Mercer Health Sciences Center, and enhancing interdisciplinary education among medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and the health professions,” said President William D. Underwood. “Under his leadership, the College of Pharmacy has become recognized as among the nation’s finest, with an outstanding Pharm. D. program and an internationally recognized research program supported by world-class scientists and talented Ph.D. students preparing for careers in academia and industry.
“Even this does not capture the impact that Ted Matthews has had at Mercer,” President Underwood said. “He was on the search committee that brought me to Mercer. He has been a ‘Dean of Deans,’ helping select and mentor many of his colleagues through the years. His contributions to Mercer are immeasurable. I enjoy working with him, I benefited from his wise counsel, and I am proud to call him my friend.”
About the College of Pharmacy
Mercer University’s College of Pharmacy is ranked among the top five pharmacy programs at private institutions in the United States, according to the 2016 U.S. News & World Report. The college offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.). Founded in 1903 as the independent Southern School of Pharmacy, the school merged with Mercer University in 1959 and in 1981 became the first school in the Southeast to offer the doctor of pharmacy degree as its sole professional degree. In 1988, the College launched its graduate program, offering the Ph.D. degree in pharmaceutical sciences. The College is one of four health sciences units within the Mercer Health Sciences Center. With an enrollment today of more than 670 students and a distinguished faculty of basic scientists and clinicians, the College of Pharmacy houses seven centers focusing on research, teaching and learning. The college's motto, “A Tradition of Excellence—A Legacy of Caring,” frames its philosophy of providing excellent academic programs in an environment where every student matters and every person counts. For more information about the college, call 678-547-6244 or visit http://pharmacy.mercer.edu.