Southwestern Oklahoma State University
The Bark

Irby Family Honored by SWOSU College of Pharmacy


Members of the Lowell M. Irby family were recently honored with the College of Pharmacy Heritage Award at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.

Those receiving the honor, all SWOSU pharmacy graduates, were Lowell M. Irby (1955), father; Kirk (1985), son; Wade (1996), son; and Dillard Irby (1951), Lowell’s brother.

The Heritage Award recognizes a family with at least two generations of SWOSU pharmacy graduates who have demonstrated a commitment to the university, College of Pharmacy and the pharmacy profession.  The Irby Family has a long history of service.

Lowell opened Lowell’s Pharmacy in 1958 in Artesia (NM) and he, along with sons Kirk and Wade, has been operating the business, as well as the pharmacy operation at the Artesia General Hospital. In 2014, Wade moved to Beaverton (OR) and became the owner/pharmacist of Beaverton Pharmacy.

Together the Irbys established the first clinical services program for retail pharmacists in New Mexico.  They were each involved in many activities and served on many boards at the local, state (particularly the New Mexico Pharmacy Association) and national levels.  The Irbys have been recognized with numerous honors:

Lowell received the New Mexico Pharmacists Association’s Ernie Welch Award, Bowl of Hygeia Award, Innovative Pharmacist Award as well as the SWOSU College of Pharmacy Outstanding Pharmacy Alumnus Award in 1999. He was also inducted into the SWOSU Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 2010.  Additionally, he serves on the boards of the Southwestern Pharmacy Alumni Foundation, Western Bank of Artesia and, for nearly 40 consecutive years, the Artesia Board of Education.

Kirk also received the New Mexico Pharmacists Association’s Innovative Pharmacy Practice Award as well as the Bowl of Hygeia Award.  He serves on the SWOSU College of Pharmacy’s Dean’s Advisory Council.

Wade received the New Mexico Pharmacists Association’s Innovative Pharmacy Practice Award, Distinguished Young Pharmacist Award and Ernie Welch Award.

They are all lifetime members of the SWOSU Pharmacy Alumni Association and outstanding supporters of the College of Pharmacy. They have provided long-standing Irby Family Scholarships to students and, in 2014, as Hope Diamond Sponsor at the 75th anniversary celebration of the College of Pharmacy.

Dillard lives in Tularosa (NM).  Wade lives in Beaverton with his wife, Jennifer and their children: Brandon, Allyson, Lesley, Becca and Noah.  Kirk lives in Artesia with his wife Sherleeh and two sons: Douglas and Nicholas. Lowell and his wife of over 50 years, Norberta, also have a son Eugene and a daughter LaNette. 

Each family member received an engraved Heritage Award Commemorative Coin, College of Pharmacy blanket, and their names displayed on a tree stake in the garden area by the College of Pharmacy Heritage Tree, a Texas white bud tree which was planted in 2014 during the 75th Anniversary celebration.