‘Medicinal chemistry and John Andrako prepared us well for the real world of pharmacy’

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
By: Cynthia McMullen


Thanks to Keith Kittinger for sharing news of his recent visit, along with fellow classmate Bill Nicholson, to see one of their former professors, John Andrako. (All three are pictured below from the 1972 edition of the X-Ray yearbook.)




In mid-March, VCU School of Pharmacy alumni Bill Nicholson and Keith Kittinger (both B.S. ’72) took a trip down memory lane, visiting John Andrako at his home in Midlothian, Va. Kittinger is vice president of Bremo Pharmacy and pharmacist and manager for Bremo Long Term Care Pharmacy, and Nicholson retired as pharmacy manager for the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Andrako, who formerly served on the School of Pharmacy’s pharmaceutical chemistry (now medicinal chemistry) faculty and as assistant dean of the school, retired in 1991 as VCU’s interim vice president for health sciences.

Nicholson and Kittinger also knew Andrako through Kappa Psi fraternity, as Andrako was a Kappa Psi brother at Rutgers.

Kittinger reports, “Dr. Andrako is 93 and still going strong. He shared many stories about his time in World War II at the Battle of the Bulge and the European theater, where he served as a medic.”

Andrako also shared his history of growing up in New Jersey, attending Rutgers, where he graduated from the College of Pharmacy (now known as the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy) and earned his master’s degree in medicinal chemistry. He later attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he got his Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry. He joined the MCV School of Pharmacy faculty in 1956.

Historical postscript: “A History of the UNC School of Pharmacy,” by George H. Cocolas, notes that the UNC school lost some of its finest faculty in 1956: “Walter Hartung elected voluntary retirement from UNC in 1956 after accepting a faculty position at the Medical College of Virginia School of Pharmacy. John Andrako, an assistant professor in pharmaceutical chemistry for one year, resigned also to accept a faculty position at the Medical College of Virginia that same year. Chancellor [Robert B.] House, on receiving the resignations of Drs. Hartung and Andrako, said, “The School of Pharmacy has lost its primary scholar and best teacher.”