Retirement Spotlight: Susan Fagan

Dr. Susan Fagan Leaves Indelible Mark at College of Pharmacy

“Researcher…Teacher…Colleague…Mentor…Friend. Susan Fagan epitomizes the quintessential College Professor. Her passion for students is something to emulate, and the significant strides she has made with her research has changed lives. We will miss her greatly.”

This tribute by Dr. Henry Young, Interim Department Head of Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy and Kroger Professor, honors Dr. Susan Fagan, who is retiring January 1, 2021 after more than 21 years of service to the College of Pharmacy.  Her various titles distinguish her accomplishments; she leaves the College as the Assistant Dean of the extended campus in Augusta; the Distinguished Research Professor, the Albert W. Jowdy Professor, and now a new designation, Professor Emeritus!

Said Susan, “I will remain an active member of the CET program and the Augusta faculty. As Professor Emeritus, I am trusted to continue in my mentoring role for my graduate students and I will manage my laboratory and ongoing funded research.  Professor Emeritus means I will always be a PharmDawg!”

Recently relocating to Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband, Bill Anderton, Susan answered a few questions about her career at CoP.

When did you start at the College of Pharmacy and why were interested in joining CoP?
I started my academic career at Wayne State University in Detroit and soon after being promoted to Professor there in 1999, I moved to the Augusta campus of the UGA College of Pharmacy. I was attracted to the program in Augusta, because it gave me a chance to have my own lab and graduate students for the first time in my career. Joining the Stroke Center at the Medical College of Georgia also meant that I would have great collaborators, such as Dr. David Hess, in research and practice. Joe DiPiro, Pharm.D. and George Francisco, Pharm.D., also were individuals who I admired and wanted to work with.

What positions did you serve in at the College?  
In 2005, after Dr. Joe DiPiro moved to South Carolina to become Dean, I was named Interim Department Head and remained in that role for 18 months until Dr. Brad Phillips was hired. After that, I became Associate Head and Assistant Dean for the Augusta Campus. In 2013, I was named Inaugural Director of the Center for Pharmacy and Experimental Therapeutics at MCG and Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Georgia.

Who was a mentor or special person for you at the College of Pharmacy?
Dean Svein Øie nurtured my administrative skills and trusted me to make decisions and long-term plans for my campus. His trust in my instincts enabled my growth as an academic manager.

What was your most indelible memory of the College?
Being named Distinguished Research Professor in 2013, and celebrating with my lab members and colleagues, was an amazing time.

What was your favorite part of your job?
I love communicating one-on-one with students, getting to know their strengths, and helping them to see their potential. Especially when students are struggling, either from personal or academic difficulties, I want to be there for them and see them through it.

What is your lasting legacy at the College?
My lasting legacy at the College is the renovated HM building and lab on the Augusta campus. I dreamed about it and advocated for it for almost a decade, and to see it come to be was very satisfying. I know that the students, staff and faculty who follow me will thrive in the space and do things I can only imagine.

What will you miss the most?
I already miss my colleagues and students and the celebrations we used to have prior to the pandemic.

What do you plan to do in retirement?  
I plan on golfing, exercising and writing a novel. I am also praying for a puppy!

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