Retirement Spotlight: Matt Perri

Dr. Perri’s Commitment to Stellar Patient Care Is Lasting Legacy

This retirement profile exemplifies the teacher, leader, and friend Dr. Matt Perri has been during his almost 35.5 years of tenure at the College of Pharmacy — a professor with an abundance of passion, focus, and heart for his work and students, with a little bit of humor mixed in.

Said Dr. Henry Young, Interim Department Head of Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy and the Kroger Professor, “Matt will be sorely missed at the College of Pharmacy. His bigger-than-life personality, his infectious humor, and his passion for his students is now a part of our legacy. Certainly, he will be hard to replace. But he will always be remembered.”

Joining the College in September of 1985, Matt will retire on January 1, 2021 as a Professor in the Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy Department and the Program Director for the PharmD/MBA Dual Degree Program.  He adds a new title to his repertoire: Professor Emeritus!  With this designation, Matt says he will continue publishing, serving on several graduate student committees, contributing as a guest lecturer in several courses, and working on the Georgia Department of Community Health Drug Utilization Review Board and the University System of Georgia’s Drug Utilization Review Board. “I also will continue with a new project in the area of the opioid crisis, focused on bringing solutions to individuals, municipalities, and others affected by this health catastrophe.”

Matt added that as soon as he gets vaccinated, he will be back coaching wrestling at Oconee County High School as well. “This could be our year; the team is looking awesome – on Zoom!”

Enjoy reading Matt’s story – and chuckle out loud in his honor as you read about his Mickey Mouse antic!

When did you start at the College? Why were you interested in joining the College?

I started at CoP soon after the discovery of electricity. I was interested in joining the College, because UGA’s mascot was far more inspiring than my alma matter (USC Gamecock, commonly known as a chicken).

What positions did you serve in at the College?  

There have been two primary positions that I was in while serving the College. First, the standing position, which I used in lectures, and second, the seated position, which I used in meetings and while working at my desk.

Who was a mentor or special person for you at the College of Pharmacy?

I have learned something (and most was good) from everyone I have encountered at the College. While I do not have one person who I single out as a mentor, there was one person who made a huge impact on me over the years. And she is now retired. It was Rose at the Ramsey Center. Rose was a custodian, and I saw her almost daily for many years. I never saw her without a smile on her face. What a legacy she left us. I will never forget her and her uplifting attitude towards her work and those around her.

What was your most indelible memory of the College?

The night that a local physician and I snuck into the College and actually cut a life-sized Mickey Mouse silhouette right into the office door of former Department Head and Professor Jeff Kotzan, as payback for one of his many practical jokes. There are those who say his laughter the morning he saw his “Mickey Mouse” door can still be heard echoing in the halls of the RC Wilson Building to this day. Jeff’s laugh was second only to that of Cathy White’s, and his tomfoolery second only to Randy Tackett’s.

What was your favorite part of your job?

Without a doubt, the best part of my job was the students and the relationships that we have created. I keep in touch with many, and after all these years, I have taught some of their kids now too. Very cool.

What is your lasting legacy at the College/What is your greatest accomplishment/What do you want to be remembered for?

Tough to sum up 35+ years in just a few words, but I will try. Legacy: Teaching students that the most important thing they do as a pharmacist is taking excellent care of their patients. Accomplishment: Surviving 3.5 Deans. (4.5 if you count alumnus Dean Stone!) Remembered: I think I will be remembered for my fervent attempts to instill in our students the desire to appropriately counsel every patient. The students have seen that the “counseling toolbox” I use in class is full of tools so powerful that they seem like “Jedi Mind Tricks.” The [counseling] Force is strong in our students. Amid all the distractions of the world, isn’t excellent patient care what we are all about? Stay focused, my friends.

What will you miss the most?

Rose. Our students. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I will miss my daily visits from Randy Tackett and Keith Herist. And others from time to time. Dedicated. Determined. Dependable. Nothing but love for friends like that. Oh, and FDC (Faculty Discussion Club). (Said with a grin and a wink.)

What do you plan to do in retirement?  

Keep moving. They say life is like riding a bike. It is easiest to balance when you keep moving.

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