For Mary Losey (P’60, MS’66), Purdue means family. From as far back as she can remember, Purdue has been part of her life. "We moved here when I was three," says Losey. "My father worked for the USDA and worked at Purdue from 1942-57."
Working at a pharmacy during her high school years, she liked the combination of science and selling. “We’d had a number of illnesses in my family throughout the years, and I started becoming interested in medicine,” says Losey. “I didn’t want to be a doctor but loved math and chemistry.”
Pharmacy was the perfect fit.
“Dad had a good career at Purdue, and it was a comfortable place,” says Losey. “There was never a doubt that I would go to Purdue for my education.”
Losing her father between her freshman and sophomore years was very difficult. “My brother was in a bad car accident six months after dad died,” Losey says. “Those were very tough years, but I stayed active in Kappa Epsilon, the American Pharmaceutical Association, and some other organizations, and that helped.”
After graduation, Losey went to work at St. Margaret Hospital in Hammond, Ind. “I decided to come back to Purdue for my master’s,” she says. “At that time, nursing programs were hospital-based, and I thought I’d go back to work as a hospital pharmacist and teach nursing students the pharmacology courses.”
But the best-laid plans of mice and men – or in this case, pharmacy graduates – often go astray, and after finishing graduate school, Losey was asked to stay on and teach. “I loved teaching,” says Losey. So she seized an opportunity that many with a master’s degree do not get: to teach pharmacy classes at a college level.
“I thought I’d give it a try for a few years and if I didn’t like it, I would go back to pharmacy practice,” says Losey. But she didn’t go back to pharmacy practice and after teaching and advising for 33 years, retired in 1999.
It was when she served on the School of Pharmacy (now the College of Pharmacy) scholarship committee that she recognized the restrictiveness of some pharmacy scholarships. “I began to feel a special affinity to the non-traditional students in pharmacy,” says Losey. “Many had families, some were single parents, and some were coming to college for the very first time. I wanted to do something that would help those students be able to pay for their college expenses.”
In 2000, she established the Mary M. Losey Pharmacy Scholarship for non-traditional students.
“I owe Purdue everything,” says Losey. “Purdue gave me a chance at a college education when my father died. It gave me a wonderful and fulfilling career, and it gave me a lifetime of friends.”
For everything it gave her, Losey felt it was her turn to give back. “My education at Purdue in the School of Pharmacy was the best investment I have ever made – in time and money – and my subsequent career in the Purdue School of Pharmacy provided me with many years of career satisfaction and the opportunity to work with so many wonderful young people.”
Through her scholarship, she is paying it forward to pharmacy students, and providing opportunity for them to go on to become good pharmacists and good citizens.
They have a great example to follow in their benefactor: Mary Losey.
Writer: Karen Pulliam, assistant director for stewardship communications in the University Development Office. 49-43872, email@example.com