Auburn University’s pharmacy building auditorium named in honor of pharmacy, education alumni

Published: April 16, 2021
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With a $1.2 million commitment from Johnny H. Bell and Sue Tate Bell, the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy will name the auditorium in the Walker Building in their honor. The Auburn Board of Trustees agreed to name the room as the Johnny and Sue Bell Auditorium at its April 16 meeting.

The couple’s gift will provide support for the ongoing development of the school’s strategic initiatives, accomplishing the overall mission of making Auburn a premier destination for pharmacy education. The gift will also establish the Johnny and Sue Bell Endowed Chair, the first endowed chair in the school.

“Sue and I have been fortunate to be a part of many advancements for our patients and community through the pharmacy profession,” said Johnny Bell. “Auburn University and the Harrison School of Pharmacy impacted that success, and I am grateful for the opportunity to pay it forward. Pharmacy has been a special, meaningful part of our lives for many years. I look forward to seeing what the future of pharmacy brings, and the pharmacy education experience is the beginning of that progress.”

The Walker Pharmacy Building opened in 1974, with the auditorium added in 2006 as part of the Education and Clinic Wing. At more than 3,500 square feet, the state-of-the-art auditorium is equipped with dual 165-inch LED high-definition NEC displays with the ability to bring instruction to life through integrations with Zoom, Panopto and Canvas.

Through this technology, faculty, practitioners and guests from around Alabama and the world connect and engage with students, providing a diverse spectrum of experiences to those studying on the Auburn campus.

“We are very grateful for the generosity of Johnny and Sue Bell and their support in advancing pharmacy education at the Harrison School of Pharmacy,” said Richard A. Hansen, dean of the Harrison School of Pharmacy.

“This gift will help ensure that Auburn and the Harrison School of Pharmacy remains on the cutting edge of pharmacy education, training the next generation of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists to improve health outcomes for those in Alabama and across the world.”

The endowed chair will support a faculty member within the Harrison School of Pharmacy who has demonstrated an inspiring commitment to the students and to the contribution of high-quality instruction, research and service. As the first endowed chair in the school, this will be a prestigious appointment provided to an individual proven to strengthen and enhance the pharmacy program.

Both members of the Auburn Class of 1970, Sue earned a bachelor’s degree in education, while Johnny earned his in pharmacy. Following graduation, the couple relocated to York, Alabama, where he worked as a pharmacist with York Pharmacy and she taught elementary school. The couple purchased the York Pharmacy in 1972 and worked the business, eventually purchasing The Drug Store in Livingston.

In 1986, Johnny Bell, along with other professionals, created and developed Vital Care Inc. Vital Care is a pharmacy-based provider of home infusion services to patients with both chronic and acute conditions. A franchise-based company, it has grown to more than 60 locations in more than 20 states since its inception.

“The growth of Vital Care into a premier national network of infusion providers is a testament to Johnny’s great leadership and vision,” said Hansen. “Not only has he been a great business leader in the state and region, but he and Sue have also been great community leaders through various nonprofits and charitable organizations and are great representations of what we love in Auburn men and women.”

In 1992, Johnny Bell was recognized with the Bowl of Hygeia from the Alabama Pharmacy Association, an award that recognizes pharmacists who possess outstanding records of civic leadership in their communities and encourages pharmacists to take active roles in their communities. He was also honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Auburn Pharmacy Alumni Affiliate in 1998.

Members of both the Samford Society and the 1856 Society, the Bells reside in Gulf Breeze, Florida. The couple is very involved with their three children—two of whom are Auburn graduates—and five grandchildren.

Auburn University's Harrison School of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 20 percent of all pharmacy schools in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the School offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.) while also offering a master's in pharmaceutical sciences. For more information about the School, please call 334.844.8348 or visit the Harrison School of Pharmacy website.