Faith in the future: Rosalie Sagraves commits to the next generation’s success through new annual fund

March 22, 2024
Rosalie Sagraves

In the months before her start as a student at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, Rosalie Sagraves, PharmD, BS Pharmacy ’69, noticed a posting for help at a local pharmacy in her hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio. Ready to get a head start in the field, she stopped in to speak with the owner and apply for the position. 

“He looked at me and said, ‘I don’t hire girls,’” Dr. Sagraves recounted. “The owner didn’t care that I had been accepted into pharmacy school, not even at his alma mater. So, I took things into my own hands and boarded a Greyhound bus to Columbus.” 

After two hours on the road, Dr. Sagraves made an appointment with Dr. Frank Bope, associate dean and pharmaceutical chemistry professor at the time. Dr. Bope had been an advocate for her since day one, convincing her to submit her application to the college during her first tour of the main campus.  

“I was always surprised that someone with that important of a role would make so much time for students,” Dr. Sagraves said. “When I later became dean of the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy, I always remembered his impact on me.”  

After speaking with Dr. Bope about her struggles to find a pharmacy position, he helped find a role for her at Columbus Children’s Hospital (now known as Nationwide Children’s Hospital). Suddenly her Greyhound commute turned into a two-minute walk as she moved into the live-in student nurse quarters across the street from the hospital.  

“As wrong as it was for that pharmacy owner to turn me away, it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me,” she said. “If I had stayed in my hometown, my career would have been far different.” 

Dr. Sagraves has been a pioneer of pharmacy practice for the past 50 years, and her success defies her difficult entry into the field.  

Dr. Sagraves continued to work at Columbus Children’s Hospital throughout her time as a student under the guidance of Pharmacy Director Tom Hipple, BS ’55. The connection to hospital systems in Columbus gave her first-hand insight and experience in the rapidly changing field of pharmacy – experience that few student pharmacists had access to at the time.

Class of 1969 Composite photo (Dr. Sagraves in top row, 3rd column)
The Ohio State University Class of 1969 composite photo, Dr. Sagraves is pictured in the top row, third column


Upon graduation, Dr. Sagraves joined Ohio State's hospital system. Alongside her peers, Dr. Sagraves worked on the floors of Ohio State's University Hospital as a clinical pharmacist, assisting physicians, nurses and other health care professionals with critical patient care. 

“With the advantage of working at University Hospital after my studies at Ohio State, I joined the field and took on responsibilities that others in pharmacy never had before,” Dr. Sagraves said. “I was the very first pharmacist at the hospital to be on a code blue team, manning the crash cart with all the medications. I worked in the cardiology unit, where I learned to read EKGs. I found myself with completely novel experiences.” 

While working at University Hospital, Dr. Sagraves also became an instructor of clinical pharmacy. Being a part of Ohio State showed her what it means to be a leader in the profession and what it takes to pass on that tradition of excellence. With a wealth of interdisciplinary experiences, she became a trailblazer in the fields of pediatrics and women’s health. 

We do a lot of things well in the US, but when we have the opportunity to learn from others’ examples, that’s a valuable way to improve quality of care.

Rosalie Sagraves, PharmD, BS Pharmacy ’69

Dr. Sagraves went on to earn her Doctor of Pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Sciences in 1978. She continued to practice clinical pharmacy, educate students and advocate for the field on a global scale.  

As dean of the College of Pharmacy at UIC and later as a consultant with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), Dr. Sagraves traveled the world, fostering partnerships with international health care professionals. To this day, she maintains that professional travel offers such valuable perspectives for those in the health care field. 

“So many Americans think that we have the best of everything, but countries around the world excel in different areas of health care,” she said. “We do a lot of things well in the US, but when we have the opportunity to learn from others’ examples, that’s a valuable way to improve quality of care.” 

With such a successful career, Dr. Sagraves is looking to support the next generation of pharmacists. By recommending her for a position at Columbus Children’s Hospital, Dr. Bope showed her what guidance from an established professional can do for a new student. 

Dr. Sagraves and former dean Henry Mann, PharmD
Dr. Sagraves with former Dean Henry Mann after delivering her speech at the 2018 Hooding Ceremony

“It’s key to learn to speak up, but to do so in a thoughtful manner,” Dr. Sagraves said. “Even though today’s students are different than when I entered the field, I still prioritize building leadership opportunities for our students.” 

To honor that commitment, Dr. Sagraves recently established the Rosalie Sagraves, BS ’69, Professionalization Fund, an annual charitable gift to support College of Pharmacy students attending conferences, allowing them to present their work or engage in leadership opportunities. 

She’ll continue to support this fund through a charitable gift annuity, which will provide the security of fixed lifetime payments and additional tax benefits. Dr. Sagraves sees this fund as an effective way to remove financial obstacles that may otherwise keep promising students from key development opportunities. 

“This scholarship will help our student leaders and researchers be seen on a national level,” Dr. Sagraves said. “If a student is doing something that’s contributing to the future of pharmacy, we want to help them represent the college and expand their horizons.” 

This is Dr. Sagraves’ most recent contribution to her existing estate gift with the College of Pharmacy. She has supported Ohio State and the College of Pharmacy for 25 years. This new addition joins her generous funding of the annual White Coat Ceremony, the Henry J. Mann Endowed Fund for the Advancement of Pharmacy Practice and the General Scholarship Fund.   

She maintains that as the number of pharmacy students grows, her confidence in the field’s future does as well. With her blend of current and future gifts, Dr. Sagraves can help meet the needs of students today and tomorrow while leaving a large impact on the future of pharmacy. 

“So long as we make sure that our students maintain patient touch, we can count on the fact that they will succeed,” she said. “Throughout my global education, I saw amazing pharmacists interacting with their patients, personalizing care. We need that.”