In Memory of Dr. Charles A. Walton
The College of Pharmacy, and the profession of pharmacy in general, lost one of its true legends with the July 31 death of Dr. Charles A. Walton, the William J Sheffield Professor Emeritus. Dr. Walton was a true visionary and inspirational leader for the profession of pharmacy. His vision from the 1970s that pharmacists would one day become direct patient care providers who optimize the use of medications and improve patient outcomes has been realized throughout the profession, due in large measure to his dedication toward developing clinical programs to train pharmacists for these responsibilities. His mentoring played a major role in drawing many inspired pharmacy students to study under his supervision, including Dr. M. Lynn Crismon, dean of the UT Austin College of Pharmacy. He inspired multiple generations of student pharmacists, residents, and young pharmacists, and he was and remains a hero for many.
Dr. Charles A. Walton (1926 - 2014) devoted his professional life to the advancement of pharmacy through his initiatives in pharmacy education, his contributions to the development of clinical pharmacy, and his scholarly publications. He was a true visionary and evangelical leader who early in his career predicted a time when pharmacists would be providing direct patient care to patients and would be responsible for assuring that patients achieved positive health outcomes. In particular, he played a primary leadership role in establishing innovative, premier clinical pharmacy education programs in both Kentucky and Texas.
Dr. Walton earned a B.S. in pharmacy from Auburn University in 1949, and M.S. (1950) and Ph.D. (1956) degrees in pharmacology from Purdue University. He spent his early career practicing as a pharmacist in both community and hospital environments and was a collaborator in planning the country's inaugural drug information center at the University of Kentucky; later serving as the center's first director.
He started his career as a pharmacy professor in 1950, completing 22 years with the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. At Kentucky, Walton played a key role in establishing an exceptional clinical pharmacy education and training program. There he twice received the University's Great Teacher Award and served as chairman of the Pharmacy Doctorate Committee before moving to the faculty at Kentucky's College of Dentistry in 1972. The following year, 1973, he joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy at the invitation of then dean, Dr. James T. Doluisio.
He partnered with Doluisio to establish one of the country's premiere post B.S. Pharm.D. programs with an integrated residency. Although the clinical program had its academic home within the UT Austin College of Pharmacy, its physical home was on the campus of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and the two UT institutions partnered to offer the Joint Pharm.D. degree. Walton attracted some of the finest pharmacy educators in the country to partner with him in building the UT program. Likewise, graduates of the UT Austin post B.S. Pharm.D. read as a who's who list in pharmacy education and clinical pharmacy practice, including many current and past deans of pharmacy schools across North America.
In 1983, he was appointed as the William J. Sheffield Professor of Pharmacy. The Dr. Charles A. Walton Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Pharmacy is named in his honor at UT Austin. Walton retired from UT Austin in 1992 as the William J Sheffield Professor Emeritus and returned to his native Alabama.
His many professional accomplishments include serving as a founding member of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP); including a term on the first ACCP Board of Regents. In 1984, he was presented the ACCP Service Award for distinguished service to the organization, and in 1987, he was named as the first Honorary ACCP Fellow. In 2006, he was awarded ACCP's Paul F. Parker Medal that recognizes an individual who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to the profession that improve patient or service outcomes, create innovative practices, affect populations of patients, further the professional role of pharmacists, or expand the recognition of pharmacists as health professionals. The Parker Medal Committee noted that Dr. Walton "is viewed as one of the small handful of elite educators that were instrumental in the initiation and subsequent growth of clinical pharmacy as a discipline. Many young clinical pharmacists trained under his tutelage and he imparted a clinical philosophy and zeal for the discipline; as such, they became his disciples and spread both his ideas and style. In short, we view Dr. Walton as a legend in our profession." It is particularly noteworthy that he received the medal in honor of his former colleague, Paul Parker, with whom he collaborated to start the Pharm.D. program at Kentucky. At the time he received the Parker Medal, UT Dean Emeritus James T. Doluisio stated, "The clinical programs developed in San Antonio by Charlie were exceptional. The basic concepts and recruitment of outstanding faculty were due to his persuasive leadership. To this day I marvel at his recruitment of exceptional individuals that owe their impressive careers to Charlie's vision and guidance."
He served as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), co-chair of the AACP Commission to Implement Change in Pharmaceutical Education, and chair of the AACP Academic Affairs Committee. In 1987, Walton received the AACP Distinguished Pharmacy Educator Award (now the Robert K. Chalmers Award). He served as a member of the Board of Regents of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology; chair of the Committee on Drug Information Services and member, Commission on Goals, for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). He was a member of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Licensure Examinations for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and vice president and member of the board of the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (now the Accreditation Council on Pharmacy education – ACPE). He received Purdue's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1989, and he was recipient of the UT Austin College of Pharmacy's Legend of Pharmacy Award in 1999.
Dr. Walton had both enlisted and commissioned officer military service and held the rank of Colonel, Field Artillery, United States Army Reserve (Retired). He was a 1964-65 Fullbright Professor at the University of Cairo, Egypt. Dr. Walton died on July 31, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Joyce of Titus, Alabama, and two sons, Charles A. and Kendall M. Walton.
Those wishing to honor Dr. Walton's memory may do so by contributing to the Charles A. Walton Endowed Presidential Scholarship in the College of Pharmacy at UT Austin. Learn more about how to make a gift by selecting the Make a Gift button on this page. Under sub department, click on Area of Greatest Need and in the right hand comments box indicate Dr. Charles A. Walton Endowment Fund.