Dr. Johnnie Early, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, received a Legacy Award during the 10th Annual African American Legacy Project Legend’s Weekend.The event took place Oct. 3-4 and is a celebration of the African American Legacy Project, which is dedicated to documenting and preserving the history of Northwest Ohio’s African-American community and its impact and influence beyond the state.
Since 2005, the Legacy Award has been given to individuals who are distinguished within the community, said Robert Smith, executive director of the African American Legacy Project.
“Dr. Early is a trailblazer and a good human being who takes ownership in what he does. He is a brilliant man and an inspiration to many,” Smith said.
Award recipients are chosen through a committee that evaluates the influence of applicants’ professional accomplishments, personal community engagement, and the extent to which their efforts inspire others.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this recognition,” Early said. “I hope that my personal story inspires young people to see the tremendous educational opportunities in the area of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, and to use their talents to serve the world.”
A few years after receiving his doctorate in 1978, he became assistant dean for research at Florida Agricultural and Medical University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He held the position until 1987, when he became dean of the college.
In 1994, Early was named dean of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, and then joined The University of Toledo in 2000 as dean of College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Under Early’s leadership, UT’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has seen the development of new degree programs, a 50 percent enrollment increase, enhanced residency training, endowed student scholarships and new facilities.
Additionally, the college has received the Public Institution Award from the Toledo chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, along with praise from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.
Early is recognized among the 50 Most Influential Pharmacists in America, and has received Man of the Year awards from Third Baptist Church and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.
In addition, he has acquired more than $35 million in grants and contracts as a bench researcher, principal investigator, co-principal investigator and program project director.
“During my youth in East Macon, Georgia, I could not have predicted that my career path would lead me to northwest Ohio,” Early said. “My family and wife, church, community, teachers and professors, and even my high school band director were alchemists in creating the final product of who I have become.”