Prescription for Love: The Love Story of Brian and Kathleen Kim

Brian Kim and Kathleen Donnelly Kim’s serendipitous connection defied parental pressures and societal norms, forging a love story that has spanned five decades, rooted in a shared passion for healthcare.

USC Mann alumni Brian Kim, PharmD ’72, and Kathleen Donnelly Kim, PharmD ’72, met in chemistry class.

In a room filled with new faces, Brian’s eyes scanned the crowd, hoping to find a friendly one, and there was Kathy, with a kind and radiant smile. He aspired to ask her out on a date. The perfect time came one afternoon when they were the last remaining in their chemistry lab. He mustered up the courage to ask her to a movie, and, to his surprise, she said yes. Thus began a beautiful friendship.

As study buddies and confidants, they faced the challenges of pharmacy school together, providing unwavering support during trying times. As their second year drew to a close, Kathy prepared to head back east to marry someone else, leaving Brian devastated.

“Needless to say, it was the longest and saddest summer of my life,” Brian says. “I filled my time working two or three jobs just to pass the time and occupy my mind.”

As Brian was preparing to put his best foot forward for his third year at USC, he received a phone call from Kathy that left him shocked: The wedding had been called off. “I suddenly went from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs,” Brian recalls.

Their friendship seamlessly evolved into love. They often studied and strolled by the ocean, an escape from the stress of school. During breaks from their studies, they volunteered at Los Angeles General Medical Center.

Brian and Kathy Kim at their wedding in 1973. (Photo courtesy of Brian and Kathy Kim)

As their journey through pharmacy school neared completion, they pondered what the future held. Their relationship had weathered numerous storms, often due to their parents’ disapproval—Brian and Kathy’s relationship was crossing racial, cultural and religious boundaries.

They resolved to defy the negative voices and forge their own path. Saving diligently throughout the summer, they pooled their resources and embarked on a journey to Hawaii. They stayed until their money ran out, returning two-and-half months later with $100.07 left to their names. Undeterred, they decided to put on their own wedding—and never looked back.

On April 14, 2023, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Brian and Kathy Kim with their son, grandson and granddaughter at a USC baseball game in 2023. (Photo courtesy of Brian and Kathy Kim)
Brian and Kathy Kim with family at a USC baseball game in 2023. (Photo courtesy of Brian and Kathy Kim)

For the 50th anniversary meal, they enjoyed tacos from Jack in the Box, the same thing they used to eat when they were “as poor as church mice,” Brian says.

PharmDs in hand and side by side, Brian’s and Kathy’s careers flourished. They both were licensed in California, Nevada and Hawaii. Kathy took the hospital pharmacy route, working as a staff pharmacist at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, Calif. There, she developed an IV additive program and retired as a pharmacy ward inspector. Brian managed medical building pharmacies all over Los Angeles and opened his own pharmacy in Tarzana, Calif. He retired as a staff pharmacist at Costco.

Now they reside in Encino, Calif., in the house they purchased in 1974 and where they raised their two children. They now also have two grandchildren.

“Pharmacy has provided us with a wonderful, satisfying life, fulfilling our need to be good community healthcare providers,” Brian says. “We would like to thank the USC Mann School for bringing us together and providing us with a wonderful, successful and happy life.”

Did you meet your significant other at USC Mann, too? Share your love story by emailing