Charles K. Born, Ph.D., Remembered as Beloved Educator, Mentor

By Benjamin Waldrum

“Charles had a tremendous impact on generations of pharmacists as a faculty member and mentor,” said Dean Cindy Stowe, Pharm.D. “His legacy of educating, mentoring, and caring for his student pharmacists has left an amazing impact on the profession and the care of patients.”

Charles and Cheryl Born

Born with his wife, Cheryl Born, Pharm.D., at UAMS Alumni Weekend in 2017.

Born is survived by his wife, Cheryl Born, Pharm.D., and their three children Scott, Jim and Carol, as well as five grandchildren, one great-grandchild, sister Carol Smith, and a niece and nephew.

“As an amazing and beloved teacher and mentor, Charles Born helped countless pharmacy students succeed throughout a career spanning four decades,” said Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., UAMS provost and chief strategy officer. “Serving as advisor for the UAMS chapter APhA-ASP, he excited students about the pharmacy profession and encouraged their participation in activities at the state and national level. His enthusiasm for pharmacy and education was always evident, whether it was his commitment to his work or simply the way he started every one of his classes with a cheery ‘gooood morning.’”

Born will be remembered for his love of family, his kindness and wisdom, his sense of humor, and his love for teaching and those he taught.

Born 1999

Born’s Caduceus photo in 1999. Over his 22-year career at UAMS, Born received multiple awards and recognitions from the student body.UAMS Historical Research Center

A 1962 graduate of El Dorado High School, Born earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the UAMS College of Pharmacy in 1967, then a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology from Purdue University in 1972. Later that same year, Born began teaching at Auburn University College of Pharmacy, where he remained for 17 years. He returned to Little Rock to teach UAMS pharmacy students in 1990, where he also served as associate dean, before retiring in 2012. The University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees recognized him later that year as professor emeritus.

Born was a beloved educator in the College of Pharmacy. He was chosen three times by the student body for the Teacher of the Year Award in 1993, 2007 and 2011. He was chosen five times by the graduating class as Most Outstanding Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011. He was also selected seven times by the graduating class to present the graduation address. In recognition for his leadership and service in education, he received the Chancellor’s Faculty Teaching Award in 2011.

Born was known locally and nationally as an exceptional pharmacy educator. He was the inaugural recipient of the Charles K. Born Professionalism Award by the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Students of Pharmacy. He received the national APhA-ASP Outstanding Advisor Award in 1994 and received the Arkansas Pharmacists Association’s Special Recognition Award in 1996. In 2007, he received the APhA-ASP Linwood Tice Friend of ASP Award, which is the highest award a faculty sponsor can receive.

Alumni Recall Fond Memories of Born

Former students remembered Born as a respected and challenging teacher. His Anatomy and Physiology class was often the first that pharmacy students took each day.

Scott Pace, Pharm.D., J.D., COP ’01, said that as an incoming pharmacy student in 1997, Born’s Anatomy and Physiology class was known among students for being difficult. “What we all dreaded and remembered at the start of every day was that ‘gooood morning,’” he said, laughing.

Born 2006

Born with College of Pharmacy students at the APhA Annual Meeting in 2006.Crystal Atwell

“He was your first point of contact in pharmacy school,” said Sarah Uroza, Pharm.D., COP ‘07. “He wasn’t easy, but you loved it. Even though he was hard, he was one of those teachers that people still loved because he cared about you.”

“As tough and intimidating as he was, he was also so fair and so deeply caring about what happened to each and every one of his students,” said Crystal Atwell, Pharm.D., COP ’07. “He was so supportive and always so proud. He’s going to be so deeply missed.”

Born was also the longtime advisor for the college’s chapter of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) and inspired many students to pursue pharmacy careers.

“For a lot of us, that’s where our affinity for pharmacy school really blossomed, through his mentorship,” Atwell said. “I think what he saw in the organization was truly the value that it had in helping develop students, so he used it as an opportunity to help us find our place and grow.”

“I do think often about, ‘What would Dr. Born do?’” Atwell said, including professor Eddie Dunn, Pharm.D., who co-led the chapter. “I just try to embody how they supported and lifted up their students: challenge them, push them at times, but all to make them better.

“He wanted to develop those 21- or 22-year-old kids into people who thought about the future of the profession,” Pace said. “You don’t see it at the time, and it almost makes you emotional and grateful through the rearview mirror to think that somebody like that had that type of impact on, not just your career but your life.”

As an administrator, Uroza said Born was approachable and relatable.

“When your family didn’t understand the stresses of pharmacy school, he did,” Uroza said. “He had that relationship with the students that was more personal, instead of the teacher and the ‘lowly student.’ It was more, this is my friend who is a little older than me.”

Born 2005

Born peeks out from behind a row of students at a 2005 meeting of the college’s APhA-ASP executive committee.Crystal Atwell

One year, students decided to recognize Born by doing a good turn: getting him a nice frame for his Ph.D. degree. Since it was supposed to be a surprise, they did it in secret — which involved collaborating with college staff to borrow the degree and replace it with a copy, Pace said.

Students took up a collection to get the degree framed. Later, when they returned the newly framed degree, Born let on that he knew something was up.

“When he got it, he said, ‘Mr. Pace, you wouldn’t think I would notice my Ph.D. missing off my wall, would you?’” Pace said. “When I said that it was on his wall, he said, ‘That was a photocopy, sir.’ He went along with the joke.”

“The class really respected him, even after 18 or 24 months of pretty hard classes that a number of folks didn’t pass,” Pace said. “Even in the face of all of that, people still wanted to dig into their wallets and purses to honor the guy. That’s just the kind of bond he helped create among the students.”

“I have gratitude to his family for sharing Dr. Born with us,” Atwell said. “He spent many late nights and weekends away to be there for his students and the college. I definitely appreciate that they allowed him the opportunity for him to be there and mentor his students.”

Since 2013, the College of Pharmacy has awarded the Charles K. Born Endowed Scholarship to a deserving student. Thirteen students have received the scholarship since its inception.

A celebration of Born’s life will be held at Maumelle Park on June 3 at 2 p.m.