However, this first class of 11 was to be the largest graduating class for the next six years. In the 1896-97 catalog, applicants to the School of Pharmacy were notified that "hereafter the pharmaceutic degree will be given only as post-graduate to the baccalaureate degree of B.S." In other words, pharmacy was now a five-year program! This had a chilling effect on aspiring applicants. Although current seniors were permitted to complete their programs, no new students enrolled and the college, in effect, ceased to exist.
What had prompted such a dramatic change in curriculum? It appears that the new school had an unforeseen antagonist in the new president of the University, William Edwards. Edwards was characterized as being "bitterly opposed" to a College of Pharmacy and wanted to see it abolished. Although Edwards was president for only a brief period--from March to October of 1897--he managed to create an atmosphere of turbulence and unrest. The School of Pharmacy was only one of several programs that suffered under his management.
This setback was received poorly in the professional community as well. During the summer of 1897, the Board of Pharmacy decided that it could not recognize graduates from the School of Pharmacy for registration without examination. According to the Board, although it desired to support the pharmacy program at the UW, the legislature had not provided sufficient appropriations to properly equip and maintain the department. Consequently, the School was "not regarded as being up to the standard of the average pharmacy school." Therefore, the Board had decided not to recognize diplomas from the UW as fully meeting the requirements for licensure by graduation. In 1899, only one student graduated from the School of Pharmacy. There would not be another graduating class until 1901.