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When a Hero Comes Along: Robert E. Lee, Ph.D.

Erica Scheuffele, Pharm.D. Candidate, University of Cincinnati, OPA extern

Ernest Hemingway once commented, "As you get older, it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary." This quote leads to two very appropriate questions: What is a hero, and How does this quote relate to pharmacy?

I think the term hero is difficult to define because it can connote different things, depending on the person evaluating the word. To me, a hero is an ordinary person who has accomplished extraordinary things. I see hero as a word synonymous with leader, or a person who guides and/or inspires others. I believe that several heroes exist in the tiny, robust world of pharmacy. These heroes or leaders are also necessary in our world because they encourage the growth and development of our profession. Unfortunately, some heroes go unnoticed.

Therefore, I would like to take this time to remember a hero who has not only inspired my life, but many other lives as well.

It may be no surprise that the man I have chosen to write about is Dr. Robert E. Lee, Associate Dean for Academic and Professional Affairs and Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy. Dr. Lee achieved his B.S. in Pharmacy from the Ohio Northern University Rudolph A. Raabe College of Pharmacy, and his Ph.D. degree from Purdue University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He completed two years of post-doctoral study at the University of Michigan Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine, prior to joining the faculty at the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy in 1970. Dr. Lee retired this year, and his efforts at the college and elsewhere will be greatly missed.

Dr. Lee has been administratively responsible for pharmacy admissions and recruitment, student organizations and, equally important, a friendly office where students can come for advice when desired and comfort when needed. Dr. Lee is active in nearly every professional organization within the college including: Kappa Epsilon, Kappa Psi, Academy of Student Pharmacists, the Student National Pharmaceutical Association, and Tribunal (student government organization). Through my experiences at the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy, Dr. Lee has been the faculty member who has inspired many students to get involved. Without his constant attendance and participation at events such as Orientation, Tribunal meetings, Reds games, UC football games, Pig Roasts, End of the Quarter Parties, ASP Mid-Year and National meetings, ASP sponsored faculty auctions, volunteer efforts by the college, and more, I think it would have been extremely difficult to encourage student participation. Dr. Lee's enthusiasm for involvement in student activities is truly contagious. Current student and Scruple's editor Dave Jarnot says, "Dr. Lee's vision for making the UC College of Pharmacy the best it can be has inspired me to take a proactive role in the college and lend my talents towards making it a model institution for student involvement and academics." Another anonymous student said, "He is always in touch with them (students), their feelings, and their opinions. Incredibly generous with his time, energy, and attention, students tend to feel a special connection with him. Often, he is the first person who is approached about concerns, problems or issues facing students."

Dr. Lee has had an enormous positive impact on the interpersonal relations among faculty and staff as well. He is one of those rare individuals who is unanimously held in high regard among all constituents for his practical, yet elegant, approach to resolve complex issues. Andrew Vogel, Manager of Professional Programs at the College of Pharmacy, says, "Dr. Lee has had a tremendous impact on the College of Pharmacy in – literally – every way. From working with students to designing our reception area to announcing names of our graduating students at commencement, and in many, many additional ways, Dr. Lee's influence is felt throughout the College. Under Dr. Lee's firm, reasoned, and gentle direction, the College of Pharmacy is extremely well regarded on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. It has been my sincere pleasure to work closely with Dr. Lee and to learn many of his good professional habits."

It must be something in the name Robert E. Lee that causes reverence to follow. Current student and Tribunal President Shane Lindsay says it best, "Dr. Robert E. Lee will forever be associated with the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy. There is an incredible legacy of student and public relations built by him that will be an immense undertaking for the University to maintain." After all, Dr. Lee is our hero, and as stated by Ernest Hemingway, he is sort of necessary .


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