Richard A. (Dick) Ohvall, PhD Former Dean of OSU College of Pharmacy

Dear OSU College of Pharmacy Alumni and Friends,

I’m am very sad to report that Richard A. (Dick) Ohvall, PhD, a distinguished pharmacy educator and leader, and Dean of the Oregon State University College of Pharmacy from 1976 to 1998, passed away on Sunday, July 31, 2016.  A native of Superior, Wisconsin, Dick Ohvall worked in a neighborhood pharmacy while in high school, which motivated him to enroll at the University of Wisconsin – Madison where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy in 1953. Dick briefly worked in community pharmacy before enlisting in the Army Medical Service Corps where he served as a hospital pharmacist in a U.S. Air Force hospital in Germany.  After completing his service, he returned to UW – Madison where he received an MBA from the School of Business and his PhD in Pharmacy Administration. He joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy in 1961, but returned to his alma mater in 1964, as an assistant professor and eventually the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the School of Pharmacy. In 1971, Dick was named Dean of Pharmacy at Ferris State University where he stayed until being recruited to serve as Dean of Pharmacy at Oregon State University in 1976. Dick was instrumental in driving the OSU College of Pharmacy to become a comprehensive research-focused program and he recognized a strong basic sciences foundation complemented an emphasis on patient care and led to outstanding pharmacy graduates. It was under his guidance that OSU developed a post-baccalaureate Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and established the College’s relationship with Oregon Health & Science University. Known as a strong supporter of the faculty, Dick empowered his colleagues to take the lead on projects and make decisions, telling them “I’m sure you’ll do the right thing”, while always having their back. Dick retired from OSU in 1998, after having served 27 years as a dean of pharmacy, the longest tenure of any active pharmacy dean at the time of his retirement.

Dick Ohvall’s leadership and influence extended beyond the OSU to the national level where he served as the President of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy for the 1992 academic year. It was during his term as President of AACP that the association voted to make the PharmD the only professional pharmacy degree awarded in the US.  He also was the President of Rho Chi, the national Pharmacy Honor Society in 1989. In 1993, Dick was honored by his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin – Madison, with its Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award and later with an Honorary Citation Award in 1999.  During his academic career, one of the things Dick Ohvall was best known for was his involvement in numerous studies examining the growing number of women pharmacists and their positive influence on pharmacy practice.  Nationally recognized and respected for his contributions to pharmacy education, he leaves behind many former students and colleagues who credit much of their success in pharmacy to his mentorship and support.  By urging his students to “never let a lack of knowledge stand in your way,” he led them to achieve things they initially didn’t think possible.  Dick Ohvall was an influential educator and mentor, a respected and effective administrator, and a wonderful friend and colleague who will be remembered for all he did to better his profession.

On behalf of the OSU College of Pharmacy, we express our deepest condolences to Dick’s wife, Judy, and their five children and their families. As soon as details are available for services, we will promptly disseminate them via this newsletter.

Mark Zabriskie
Dean, OSU College of Pharmacy