Alumni Spotlight: Richard Fond

Richard Fond (PharmD ’65) owned and operated the Glenoaks Rx Pharmacy in Burbank, CA from 1972 until 2006. He speaks about choosing between dental and pharmacy school, and how his experiences at USC School of Pharmacy helped prepare him to run a successful pharmacy for 34 years.

In a few sentences, please describe your career trajectory and career highlights. What are you most proud of in your career?

I was an underachieving student in pharmacy school, but I had a great career as a pharmacist and pharmacy owner. I recall the excitement I felt when I first purchased my own pharmacy – Glenoaks Rx Pharmacy in Burbank, CA. I don’t think my feet touched the ground for three months. I loved being an owner of my own pharmacy, which combined my desire to be a health care professional with owning and running a business. Most of all, I loved being a valued member of the community.

I am proud to be a part of a proud profession, having run a successful pharmacy for 34 years, serving on my local association board for 15 years, including 10 years as an officer, lobbying on behalf of pharmacy on legislative day in Sacramento and being a delegate to state pharmacy conventions. I am proud of the relationships I developed with members of other professions as well as the ones with my customers and staff. I am proud to have been successful enough to endow a scholarship for students at USC School of Pharmacy.

Have you always wanted to pursue a career in pharmacy?

Up until the summer of 1961, I had thought only of dentistry. I realized that summer that I was better suited for pharmacy, but since I was so focused on dentistry for years, off to dental school I went. Less than a month later, I quit. I started at USC School of Pharmacy in February 1962.

How did your experiences as a student at USC School of Pharmacy prepare you for and guide your career?

While at USC I learned the essentials for success in my career. Academic knowledge is foundational, but having the opportunity to intern at a pharmacy during those school years gave me the experience necessary to go into the world and do the work of a pharmacist in a community pharmacy practice setting.

What is your advice to current pharmacy students?

Study hard, learn as much as you can, pursue your dreams, experience failure because it will bring you closer to success and you will appreciate success all the more when it comes. Also, walk through your fears, which may be uncomfortable but are temporary, so don’t allow those feelings to hinder your pursuits in life.

In general, what is your outlook for the pharmacy profession?

The pharmacy profession is undergoing major change. It is an uncomfortable time for those resisting that change. I say embrace it. Residencies are producing specialties with clinical opportunities. The California State Legislature has passed laws that allow pharmacists to bill for professional consultation services as individuals, not just pharmacies. This step is in its infancy and it may be another decade or more before it becomes standard practice. I foresee this evolving particularly in the context of group practice settings. I see the future as bright for pharmacists as their services become more in demand from medical professionals.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time at USC?

I entered USC School of Pharmacy in February 1962. I was part of a class within a class. By taking classes in the summer, we were able to catch up and graduate with those who started in the fall. There were about 20 of us in this very diverse group, yet, we bonded rather quickly over our studies and labs. I was proud to be in a class that included people of every race and religion. I give credit to the admissions department for realizing the importance of diversity even at that point. Coming from UCLA, I loved the accessibility to the professors at USC, which was harder to come by at the large Bruin campus. Yet, I realize that was also due in part to the differences between undergraduate and graduate school.

What have you been up to since retiring in 2007?

I love spending time with my wife, Marji. We both enjoy the arts, particularly theatre. Marji’s son is an actor, as is his wife. We have traveled the country enjoying their performances in regional theatres at various venues. I also play softball a few days a week and love the camaraderie from and the fun of playing my favorite game.

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