When Gene Reeder was a teenager, he worked for a local pharmacist, riding his bike to make deliveries to patients in his community and sweeping the floor at the end of the day.
“My first promotion was from making deliveries to being a soda jerk,” he says. “I still make a mean milkshake.”
Reeder’s desire to be part of the pharmacy profession grew stronger. In 1973, he earned the first of three degrees from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. In 1977, he completed a master’s degree in pharmacy, and in 1983, a Ph.D. in Health Care Management and Economics.
Shortly after completing his bachelor’s degree, Reeder was invited to become a part-time faculty member at the College of Pharmacy.
“Dean Julian Fincher then offered me a full-time position,” Reeder says. “I had really never thought about being a teacher until someone gave me that opportunity.”
Fincher further encouraged Reeder to pursue pharmacy administration. From there, Reeder expanded his knowledge base to include pharmacy management, economic evaluation of pharmaceutical interventions and health care policy.
Reeder retired initially from teaching at USC in 2008 and worked in the private sector as a consultant. The pull of teaching was strong, however. In 2016 Dean Stephen J. Cutler asked him to consider returning to his alma mater, Reeder never hesitated. He was named director of outcomes research for the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center.
“I have always been happiest when I was with my colleagues and my students,” he says.
Reeder’s many accolades include the Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Pharmacy, the Bowl of Hygeia Award from the South Carolina Pharmacy Association and the Richard A. Rempel Award from the USC Student Body Government for his concern for the welfare of the student body. He has served as president of both the APhA Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science and the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, and he has been chair of the USC Faculty Senate.
When asked about his greatest achievement, Reeder humbly credits his graduation with a pharmacy degree as the foundation for all he accomplished.
“Becoming a tenured full professor marks the pinnacle of my professional journey but convincing my wife, Nancy, to marry me, is my greatest personal achievement” he says.
Reeder now looks forward to reading more of his favorite authors, doing a little fly fishing and golfing, and visiting as many U.S. National Parks as possible.