UNM College of Pharmacy Names Robert T. Shmaeff as 2019 Distinguished Alumni
A career defined by service to his community and inspired by the love of his profession.
For Robert T. Shmaeff (BSPh, 1961), who has been selected by his peers as this year’s UNM College of Pharmacy Distinguished Alumni award recipient, the success he has achieved is due in part to the example that his family set for him.
As a third generation pharmacist and California native, it was Bob’s uncle who encouraged him to apply to pharmacy school while Bob’s family was visiting him in Albuquerque. Coincidentally, his uncle lived just down the street from the UNM College of Pharmacy. “The rest”, as Bob says, “is history”.
Working in various community pharmacy settings out of college, Bob eventually launched Pioneer Pharmacy Services where he spent 20 years as president and CEO. By the time he sold it to Owen Healthcare in 1981, his company provided contractual pharmacy services with 11 hospitals in California and two in New Mexico.
In 1979, Bob, like his father, became an alumnus of the University of Southern California (USC). He received his masters in public administration with a concentration in Health Services Administration, and has since served as chairman of the board of Western United National Bank, pharmacist in charge of Evergreen Pharmaceutical of California, Inc., and as a consultant pharmacist for the Tarzana Treatment Center.
Today, Bob is the director of pharmacy services at the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging. He is also an adjunct assistant professor at his father’s alma mater, the USC School of Pharmacy, and in this role he not only mentors pharmacy students but also helped create a PGY-1 residency program at the Jewish Home in conjunction with Western University of Health Sciences.
Throughout all of this, Bob’s guiding principle has been to give back to his community. His father was able to graduate from pharmacy school in part to the generosity of those who provided his scholarships. As a result, “paying it forward” is a term that Bob lives steadfastly by.
“I think it is essential to be involved, to be a difference maker. To do this you must take time and get your hands dirty.”
This core value has led Bob to be honored by resolution twice by the City of Los Angeles, twice by the County of Los Angeles, and by the United States House of Representatives. He has also been recognized as a “Who’s Who in California” and a “Who’s Who in the West”.
Out of all of this, there are three very special recognitions that Bob holds dear to his heart. The first was being selected as the 1998 Honorary Alumnus of the USC School of Pharmacy for supporting the school’s fundraising efforts for over 40 years. The second was for receiving the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia award in 2015 from the California Pharmacists Association, which he has been an active member of for over 50 years.
The third? “Becoming a Distinguished Alumnus of the UNM College of Pharmacy.”