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July 16, 2020

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15 minute with Tom Gossel - not possible, but here's our attempt

The Icon caught up with Tom Gossel recently and our conversation when all over the board. Here's some of what we talked about.

Tell us about your background before joining the ONU faculty.
I earned the bachelor’s of pharmacy degree in 1963 from ONU. I worked five years in a community pharmacy, then began graduate work at Purdue University in 1968. I received my master’s in pharmacology/toxicology in 1970 and doctorate in 1972, both graduate degrees in pharmacology/toxicology and both from Purdue. I arrived in Ada the end of June, 1972.  My ONU contract started July 1, 1972.

What are some of the classes you’ve taught?
Along the way I've have taught required courses, including History of Pharmacy, Introduction to Disease, and Toxicology. I served as dean of the College of Pharmacy from 1993 – 1999, then returned to faculty for three years until retirement in 2002; thus, affiliated with ONU 30 years.

Class sizes (as shown by number of grads each year) was 85 grads for 1973, representing my first full year at ONU. Except for 1985-87 when the number of grads was 92, 82, and 95, respectively, all other years have had graduating classes above well above 100. The total number of grads during my 30 years at ONU was 3,786. The total graduates beginning in 1886 - first year for the College of Pharmacy - through 2014 equals 9,274.

You’ve witnessed several changes in your teaching profession. Tell us about some of them.
Without a doubt, the greatest change in Rx education at ONU, and nationally, has been the emphasis put on clinical interaction of pharmacists with patients, physicians, etc. Getting away from “Counting, licking, and sticking” as in older days. The Pharm.D degree is a clinical one, and students earning it are deserving of the title “Dr.” because of what they can do today.

At ONU, the program started changing back in 1972. Beltz brought four new faculty onboard and it was our duty to get things brought up to date. By the early-1990s our curriculum had been changed in the upper level (years 3-5) to integrate all coursework together by topic, rather than by course name. This meshed with the way physicians were being taught.

We understand you’ve had lots of speaking invitations. Gives us a sense for that.

Over the years I have spoken to many pharmacy associations. I’ve been invited to speak to groups in 47 states. I missed Alaska, Delaware and Montana, although I had an invitation to go to Anchorage. Since I was only in dean’s office for a few months I cancelled that trip. Darn it, because I always wanted to go to Alaska during the winter. That was my opportunity, but I felt it was more important I remain on campus. I did the right thing by cancelling my meeting up there!

What’s retirement all about?

Today people still ask if I am happy with retirement. My answer is: I am retired from ONU but not from life. I still write articles for publication. I have also completed a manuscript on the history of the Raabe College of Pharmacy and am currently arranging for its publication. I’m also working on a family history. Along with church work and a few other opportunities, I have plenty to do. Also, have been back in the workshop. We built this house with a heated/air conditioned shop and I enjoy being there making lots of sawdust. I told myself at retirement I intended to get all the power tools purchased from years before fired up and running.

And tell about your career "after ONU."

I took a short course on preaching offered by our Presbytery and my name was added to list of lay pastors available to cover for vacations, etc. I’ve served congregations nearby and was asked to come to Dola Presbyterian Church for two Sundays in 1998, then invited to stay on. Did so and had a “blast?” I retired from that position in 2013 – 14 ½  years later. All this came about because of a conversion experience in 1993.