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February 4, 2014

Valley's first pharmacy school can start enrolling students

A pharmacy college in Clovis has the go-ahead to enroll its inaugural class this summer.

A pharmacy college in Clovis has the go-ahead to enroll its inaugural class this summer.

California Health Sciences University College of Pharmacy said Tuesday it has been given "pre-candidate status" by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the accrediting body for pharmacy education.

The pre-candidate status is the first of three steps leading to full accreditation for the college -- the first pharmacy school in the central San Joaquin Valley. The closest pharmacy school is at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

The College of Pharmacy should achieve candidate status in June 2015, which will allow graduates to take the national pharmacy boards, said Dr. David Hawkins, founding dean of the college. Full accreditation would follow in June 2018, with graduation of the first class, he said.

The college also is working toward accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The College of Pharmacy will accept 84 students for the first class, Hawkins said. Applications are still being accepted, but interviews have already begun, he said. The college will employ more than 50, mostly faculty.

The college is located on Clovis Avenue just south of Herndon Avenue, but plans include a proposal for a university campus on 179 acres near Millerton, about 10 miles north of Fresno. The campus could include up to five health sciences-related colleges, with the College of Pharmacy being the first.

Proponents have said a university devoted to health sciences is a good idea for the Valley because it has a shortage of health-care workers, but environmental groups have labeled the project, and the nearby build-out that is expected in the rural Millerton Lake area, as sprawl.

A group of local business notables led by the Assemi family, which owns Granville Homes, is behind the university.

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