Association Names UIC Pharmacy-Educator ‘Pharmacist of the Year’

Nicholas Popovich, professor and head of pharmacy administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy, was named “Pharmacist of the Year” by the Illinois Pharmacists Association.

The award, initiated in 1950, is the association’s oldest continuing honor. Popovich was presented with the award at the organization’s recent annual conference.

Popovich says he knew as a teenager the career path he wanted to follow after he and his parents attended an open house at a Chicago pharmacy. The field incorporated two of his passions — science, and helping people.

He earned his baccalaureate in pharmacy from UIC, as well as master of science and Ph.D. degrees. One of his mentors in the UIC College of Pharmacy, Daniel Nona, encouraged him to pursue an academic career. Even after almost 40 years, Popovich says he has not lost his passion for teaching pharmacy students.

“Teachers touch eternity,” he said. “They never know where their inspiration ends. I revere my opportunity to be an educator and influence those who I instruct and guide.”

Popovich spent nearly 28 years on the faculty of the Purdue University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences before returning to UIC in 2002. He has been recognized often for his service to the field. He served as president and chairman of the board of directors of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and received five Rufus A. Lyman Awards for the outstanding annual research article published in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. In 1997, he received the Distinguished Educator Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

At Purdue, Popovich received five undergraduate teaching awards within the college and the university-wide Amoco Foundation Undergraduate Teaching Award. He was inducted as a Founding Fellow in Purdue’s Teaching Academy in 1997.

At UIC, Popovich received the UIC College of Pharmacy’s Urban Health Program Distinguished Faculty Award in 2005. Two years later, he was the recipient of the American Pharmacist Association Gloria Niemeyer Francke Leadership Mentor Award.

Popovich said he was grateful for his latest honor while adding that he could not do it without the support of staff and colleagues.

“I share this award with those pharmacists who dedicate themselves every day to patient care,” he said. “They are my true heroes and true pharmacists of the year.”

UIC ranks among the nation’s leading research universities and is Chicago’s largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.

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