Titus Family Endows Department of Pharmacy
USC School of Pharmacy Newsletter, January 1, 2004
By Alexis Bergen
Honoring their family roots infused with a love of pharmacy, F. DeWight Titus, III, Pharm.D. (’58) and Susie Titus, B.S. (’60) have made a substantial gift to the USC School of Pharmacy to name the Titus Family Department of Pharmacy.
The Titus Family endowment will uphold the Department’s mission to enrich the drug therapy knowledge of health care practitioners through a variety of educational interventions and settings, said Dean Timothy Chan, Ph.D., USC School of Pharmacy.
“DeWight and Susie’s financial support will enable the Department to educate pharmacy students for future practice through the development of communication, interpersonal and problem-solving skills,” said Chan.
DeWight and Susie were integral to the success of the family-owned F.D. Titus & Son, a medical/surgical supply company that revolutionized the industry. The company was sold to General Medical in 1994, and finally to McKesson in 1997.
“Our family would not have achieved the same degree of success without the USC School of Pharmacy,” said DeWight. “With this gift, we are honoring our family and the satisfaction they had with their pharmacy careers.”
A third generation pharmacist, DeWight was exposed to the pharmacy profession at an early age and developed an instant affinity.
“As a teenager, I worked as a clerk in my family’s pharmacy and enjoyed interacting with the patients,” said DeWight. “That was my first real taste of the profession.”
Graduating from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1908, Frank DeWight Titus (DeWight and Susie’s grandfather) contracted tuberculosis and relocated to California for a drier climate. In 1935, he opened F.D. Titus & Son, a community pharmacy located in Alhambra, California. Frank DeWight Titus passed away in 1938 and left the pharmacy to his son.
Following his father’s example, Frank DeWight Titus Jr., Pharm.D. attended the USC School of Pharmacy, and upon graduation, ran the family-owned pharmacy for two years. He also completed two years of medical school before being drafted into the Navy during World War II.
June Titus, Pharm.D. (’38), who also graduated from USC, ran the business in her brother’s absence.
“Once he returned from war, my father had the choice of going back to medical school or staying with the family business,” said DeWight. “He chose to run the pharmacy and expanded the business to include medical and surgical supplies. My father saw the synergy between the products and the customers, particularly the demand from physicians.”
When the time came, DeWight’s decision to attend pharmacy school at USC was not a difficult one.
“A pharmacy career was my birthright,” he said. “As a student, I enjoyed being part of the transition from compounding to contemporary pharmacy practice.”
After a post-graduate service in the military, DeWight helped the family open an additional two pharmacies in Santa Ana and Compton. In 1971, DeWight left his position at the Santa Ana location to focus solely on the medical/surgical supply part of the company.
“I enjoyed the sales aspect of the business,” he said. “We supplied nursing homes and physician groups with everything from bandages to exam tables to sophisticated surgical equipment. By the time we sold the company to General Medical, it was one of the largest physician supply companies of its kind.”
After teaching for both deaf and hearing students for nearly twenty years, Susie Titus began the veterinary division of F.D. Titus & Son in 1979.
“All of the medical supplies are the same for both pets and humans, so I thought that it was a natural transition,” said Susie.
Susie managed sales representatives that sold to veterinary hospitals in six territories throughout California and parts of Arizona and Nevada. In 1990, the division was sold to Con Agra.
With their naming gift, Susie and DeWight hope to encourage pharmacy students to pursue career paths well outside of the traditional pharmacist role.
“Over my career, I came to realize how valuable a Pharm.D. degree is to individuals pursing a career in healthcare,” said DeWight. “I was exposed to so many avenues within the profession. My goal is for students today to explore the opportunities available to them, particularly in management positions.
Susie adds, “the USC School of Pharmacy was good to our family and it was time for us to be good to the School.”