Nelson Sims Donation Creates SWOSU Dean of Pharmacy Endowed Chair


Nelson and Janie Sims
Southwestern Oklahoma State University graduates Nelson and Janie Sims have made a $250,000 contribution that will help fund the establishment of the “Nelson M. Sims Chair, Dean of the College of Pharmacy” position at the Weatherford university.  The contribution was also recently matched by the State of Oklahoma under the Endowed Chair program.

Nelson Sims, a 1971 graduate of Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, has graciously made a significant contribution that will help fund the establishment of the “Nelson M. Sims Chair, Dean of the College of Pharmacy” position.

The $250,000 contribution was recently matched by the State of Oklahoma under the Endowed Chair program, which was created in 1988.  Sims has also challenged the university, College of Pharmacy and alumni to help with matching the contribution to the endowment fund.

“This commitment will help expand upon the great tradition of excellence in our pharmacy program,” SWOSU President Randy Beutler said. 

Originally from Watonga, Sims graduated from SWOSU with a degree in pharmacy.  He and his wife, Janie, a 1971 graduate of SWOSU, have been loyal and faithful supporters of the university for many years. The Sims now reside in the Florida Keys during the winter months and in Edwards (CO) in the summer. They enjoy trips back to Oklahoma to visit family as often as possible, and Mr. Sims is a trustee on the SWOSU Foundation Board of Directors. He has been a lifetime member of the SWOSU Pharmacy Alumni Association since 1990.

Sims has had a very distinguished record in the pharmaceutical industry.  He served as a corporate executive with Eli Lilly for 29 years prior to his retirement in 2001.  Sims served as president of Eli Lilly Canada, Inc. from 1991 to 1999.  In Canada, he has also served as the chairman of the board for the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association.  From 2003 to 2005, Sims was the president and CEO of Novavax, Inc., a biotechnology company. He remains active in the pharmaceutical industry serving as an advisor and director for biotechnology company boards.

“My Southwestern pharmacy degree has served me well during my career,” Sims said. “I trust that this contribution will provide helpful support for our College of Pharmacy Dean and, in turn, make a difference for others so they will appreciate Southwestern even more. Especially during this current difficult economic time, I believe alumni support is critical for the ongoing success of our country’s colleges and universities.”

The Nelson Sims Chair will be used to enhance programs in the College of Pharmacy which will promote leadership in pharmacy education.  These programs will train and encourage graduating pharmacists from SWOSU to become engaged in and seek leadership roles in their profession.

“The future of pharmacy in rural America depends on these graduates becoming involved in the community, their profession and politically,” said Dr. Dennis Thompson who is the dean of the SWOSU College of Pharmacy.

SWOSU’s College of Pharmacy was established in 1939 and offers a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) degree.  Students must complete two years of pre-professional study followed by four years in the College of Pharmacy. Admission to the Pharm.D. program is very competitive and approximately 85 students are admitted annually. The college will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2014.

For information about giving to the Sims Chair, please contact Patti Harper at the SWOSU College of Pharmacy Office of Alumni and Development 580.774.3190 or