From Pharmacies to Restaurants to Real Estate: UW Education Was Key to Success Print
When Al James, ’55, attended the UW School of Pharmacy, there were just about 50 students per graduating class, leading to tight bonds among students and with faculty. He recalls this period with fondness and credits his time at the school with helping him at each turning point along his professional path. “I feel that a key part of my success in life was my time at the School of Pharmacy. It opened up different avenues I couldn’t have imagined,” says James, now semi-retired.

After graduating from the School of Pharmacy, James interned at Bartell Drugs, then opened a discount drugstore inside House of Values, becoming a partner in the business two years later. He later helped start the Anthony’s Home Port chain of waterfront restaurants and eventually became involved in real estate and angel investing. “The discipline and attention to detail I learned at the School of Pharmacy helped me every step of the way,” James says. “There was a lot of luck involved too.” In appreciation of his education and to provide opportunities to faculty and pharmacy students, James and his wife, Carolynn, established a charitable lead trust, which will provide future support to the school.

James has remained connected to the School of Pharmacy, recently participating in a panel discussion about careers. Sidney Nelson, dean of the School of Pharmacy, says alumni like James are invaluable members of the school’s family. “Al and Carolynn James have been longtime friends, advisors and supporters of the school,” Nelson says. “Their gift will dramatically impact our ability to attract and support outstanding faculty and students, who in turn will lead the profession into the future. It is a truly transformational gift, and we deeply appreciate their profound generosity and dedication to the School of Pharmacy.” For more information on the School of Pharmacy, visit