Dr. Milo Gibaldi, who served as dean of the UW School of Pharmacy from 1978 to 1995, died Jan. 13 in Chicago at the age of 67. He is remembered at the UW as a humble, warm, gracious teacher, and a visionary leader.
“Those of us who were fortunate enough to know Milo, will miss his friendship, wonderful insights and ability to inspire,” noted dean Sid Nelson.
As dean, Gibaldi played an instrumental role in making the UW School of Pharmacy a premier school of pharmacy, developing a more clinically oriented curriculum, integrating the school into the UW health sciences community, and launching the Doctor of Pharmacy program. Although internationally honored for his accomplishments in pharmacy research and education, he once said, “I think of myself as a teacher, first and foremost. Even when I discover something in my research, I really get excited about telling my students about it.”
Gibaldi was a pioneer in the study of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug metabolism, bioavailability, bioequivalence, and transdermal drug delivery systems. He published more than 200 scientific papers and eight books, including the Drug Therapy Topics Supplement. He served as scientific advisor to the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and several pharmaceutical companies.
Over the course of his career, Gibaldi received many honors for his work. He was one of just seven U.S. scientists honored at the Millennial World Congress of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2000. In 1986, he became one of only two pharmacists ever elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science. The International Pharmaceutical Federation bestowed the Erik Host Madsen Medal to Gibaldi in 1991 for distinction in pharmaceutical sciences. In 1996, he was elected a fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) and was a recipient of the association’s Research Achievement Award in Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, and Drug Metabolism.
As dean, he oversaw the planning construction of the School of Pharmacy’s long-sought permanent home in the Health Sciences Center H-Wing. Previously the School of Pharmacy had been in Bagley Hall and other locations on the UW campus. In addition, Gibaldi implemented the two-year, post-baccalaureate Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program, which had been in the planning stages for some years, and graduated its first students in 1982. Combined with an American Society for Hospital Pharmacy accredited residency program, it was recognized as one of the foremost graduate programs in the nation.
Gibaldi received his undergraduate degree in pharmacy in 1960 and his doctorate in pharmaceutics in 1963 from Columbia University. He was an assistant professor at Columbia until 1966 when he moved to the State University of New York at Buffalo. There he advanced to the rank of full professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics and established a national and international reputation for research in biopharmaceutics and pharmacokinetics. A strong promoter of collegiality, Gibaldi’s leadership was recognized by UW appointments as associate vice president for Health Sciences (1982-1992), chair of the Board of Deans (1987-1995), and chair of the Board of Health Sciences Deans (1992-1995).
Gibaldi was dean of the School of Pharmacy for 17 years. He stepped down from the deanship on July 1, 1995 to return to the faculty as professor of pharmaceutics and dean emeritus. He moved to Chicago in 2003 to be closer to family and teach at Midwestern University and continue with his research. Throughout his tenure and much of his life he battled serious health problems, and was admired for his perseverance and courage that enabled him to still reach great heights as a scientist, leader and educator.
The Milo Gibaldi Endowed Professorship in Pharmaceutics was created in his honor in 1993, designed to focus on faculty and student research and education in advanced drug delivery systems.
Milo Gibaldi is survived by his wife, Florence, and daughter, Ann. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a condolence and memorial gift please do so with a donation to the Milo Gibaldi Professorship Endowment. Donations can be made online or by calling the University of Washington School of Pharmacy Office of Development directly at (206) 616-7613.
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