1937–1958: Setting the stage

Graduate programs in pharmaceutical chemistry seed the department

The Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UC San Francisco originated in 1937 as the Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), with members drawn from five different UCB departments. A master of science (MS) or a doctor in philosophy (PhD) could be earned.

Department created in 1958

The Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry was created within the School of Pharmacy in 1958, with many basic science faculty members moving from UCB to UCSF. These scientists joined others already in the School on the Parnassus campus, as basic scientific research was included as part of the vision of Carl L.A. Schmidt, who served as dean from 1937 to 1944 and simultaneously as chair of the Department of Biochemistry at UC Berkeley.


Troy C. Daniels, about 1950


Carl Schmidt, 1940

Originally the dean (Troy C. Daniels, during the transition of 1958) served as pro tem department chair and director of the Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, which also migrated from UCB. At that time there were 18 graduate students, and all graduate programs at UCSF were still under the direction of UCB’s dean of the Graduate Division. (It was only after 1961 that a separate Graduate Division was created at UCSF, with Harold Harper as dean.)

Before 1955 the College offered various non-doctoral professional degrees. In 1955, the California College of Pharmacy became the School of Pharmacy and launched its PharmD curriculum, which required two years of preprofessional study for admission. This four-year program included a major emphasis on clinical training with a strong foundation in basic sciences. The hiring of basic science faculty who were not pharmacists to teach in the UCSF School of Pharmacy was extremely controversial. It was met with forceful opposition by accrediting agencies, but this opposition was met with an equally forceful and eloquent defense—first by Dean Troy C. Daniels, and subsequently by Dean Jere Goyan. Their view prevailed, and having a cadre of basic science faculty members who were not necessarily pharmacists has become the model for all major schools of pharmacy in the United States.

Next: 1958–1965: The Eiler and Kumler Chairships