Eugene Hickman Sr., 59PhD, the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in pharmacy at the University of Iowa, has been a major force in the production of African American pharmacists in the U.S. Texas Southern University, where he taught full-time from 1959 to 1998, has produced 33 percent of the nation's black pharmacists. A superior teacher and extraordinary mentor, Hickman has inspired a new generation of pharmacists and other medical professionals.
Hickman's educational accomplishments have been nothing less than historically phenomenal. After excelling in his pre-collegiate education in the segregated public schools of Louisiana and Texas, and after a tour of duty in the United States Army, Hickman enrolled in Texas Southern University and completed a four-year program in pharmacy in only three years, becoming a member of the first graduating class of the university's new School of Pharmacy. In an historic break from the tradition of racial segregation at the University of Texas, the College of Pharmacy there admitted Hickman as one of two African Americans to its graduate program. Shortly after receiving his master's degree, Hickman became the first African American to receive a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Iowa.
His accomplishment as a faculty member at Texas Southern University over the past 40 years has been no less staggering. When he joined the faculty at Texas in 1959, there were very few African American pharmacists in Texas or even in the United States. In almost all medical and medically related careers at the time, in fact, African Americans were critically underrepresented. Over the span of four decades, Hickman helped change that scene.
As an integral component of the pharmacy program at Texas Southern University, Hickman has remained steadfastly committed to helping the school become a producer of more African American pharmacists. His institution can now boast the distinction of being the locus of training for thousands of African American pharmacists.
As a result of his dedication to clearing the road to higher education and in view of the excellence of his work, Hickman's services have been recognized through numerous awards and citations, but perhaps best by the throngs of pharmacists, dentists, physicians, and faculty members who have been his former students. Over the years, his students have sung his praises for his limitless ability to encourage and support them, for his help through their admission process to graduate, dental, and medical schools, for finding cooperative and internship opportunities, and for procuring funds to support the pharmacy program at Texas Southern.
A consummate model for faculty and teachers alike, Hickman has contributed greatly to the development of the academic program in pharmacy at his school and consequently to the evolution of pharmacy practice and higher education everywhere.
Since 1963, the University of Iowa has annually recognized accomplished alumni and friends with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Awards are presented in seven categories: Achievement, Service, Hickerson Recognition, Faculty, Staff, Recent Graduate, and Friend of the University.