Ridgway Succeeds Zellmer as AIHP President

AIHP President W. Clarke Ridgway (left) and immediate past AIHP President William A. Zellmer at the 2019 AIHP Annual Board of Directors Meeting at the UW–Madison School of Pharmacy in June 2019.
W. Clarke Ridgway (left) and William A. Zellmer at the 2019 AIHP Annual Board of Directors Meeting at the UW–Madison School of Pharmacy in June 2019.

At its Annual Business Meeting on November 14, 2019, AIHP inaugurated W. Clarke Ridgway as its new President. Mr. Ridgway succeeds William A. Zellmer, who is retiring from AIHP’s Board of Directors after serving three two-year terms as AIHP’s President.

Mr. Ridgway is no stranger to AIHP. He has served as AIHP’s Treasurer since 2010, after previously serving in various positions on the AIHP Council, including President, dating back to 1992. 

A graduate of the West Virginia School of Pharmacy, Mr. Ridgway was the school’s assistant dean for student services at the time of his retirement in 2013. He held various other positions at the school, including externship coordinator and coordinator of the Pharmacy School’s Alumni Association. He also served as curator of the Cook Hayman Museum located within the pharmacy school. 

In his inaugural remarks at the Annual Business Meeting (reprinted in full here), Mr. Ridgway thanked AIHP retiring president William Zellmer for his dedicated service to the Institute.  He cited Mr. Zellmer’s “masterful guidance of the Institute during a critical time of leadership and governance transition” and thanked him for “establishing a clear path of purpose for the Institute.” 

Looking forward, Mr. Ridgway noted the rapid changes and resulting disruption occurring within the pharmacy profession and pharmacy education. He observed that these changes are occurring within a society that “increasingly emphasizes a mechanistic view of the world… at the expense of humanistic endeavors and values.”

Mr. Ridgway stressed that in order for the Institute to “fulfill our mission of recording pharmacy’s role in the history of American society,” it must offer programming, publications and collections that “cover a wide range of topics and serve an audience that is broad and inclusive.”

The many accomplishments of retiring President William Zellmer were recognized at the Annual Business Meeting.  These included:

  • Creation of AIHP’s National Pharmacy Association Sponsorship Program;
  • Managing the retirement of Greg Higby and developing AIHP’s new leadership structure;
  • Strengthening and modernizing AIHP’s Board of Directors;
  • Working to increase the profile of AIHP;
  • Strengthening AIHP’s relationships with key partners; and
  • Promoting increased communications with AIHP’s members.

In his final annual report as AIHP President (available here), Mr. Zellmer described his six years as President as a “momentous phase in the Institute’s history, marked by a transition in executive and scholarly leadership and renewed focus on the Institute’s place in the world of pharmacy.” He expressed satisfaction that the Institute has “an energetic staff and governing team that has a deep commitment to advancing the field of pharmacy history.”

One of the hallmarks of Mr. Zellmer’s presidency has been his zeal for promoting AIHP within the pharmacy profession. Mr. Zellmer commented on these efforts:

One of the most gratifying facets of my tenure as president has been the opportunity to speak with others about the Institute, to observe their dawning awareness of this remarkable organization, to sense their recognition of the importance of the Institute’s work, and, often, to experience their readiness to support the Institute through personal membership. I encourage all members to have such conversations with individuals in their circle of influence.

Noting that AIHP has been “a source of inspiration and intellectual growth for me since my days as a pharmacy student,” Mr. Zellmer thanked Institute members for giving him the opportunity to serve as President.

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