CHSU College of Pharmacy unveils expansion project

By Paul Schlesinger | Reporter

With a cut of a ribbon Wednesday, the California Health Sciences University’s College of Pharmacy heralded the opening of its annex building and the continuation of turning the Assemi Family’s dream into a reality.

University officials were joined by local dignitaries, community partners and the university community to celebrate the opening of the 17,000 square feet facility located on 45 N. Clovis Ave., just south of Herndon Avenue and Highway 168.

Florence Dunn, CHSU president, felt that a short time has passed since the university opened in 2012.

“It seems like just yesterday that we began this dream to create a university to address three critical issues in the valley: To recruit and retain our top talented students, to address the shortage of health care providers and also to create economic job growth,” Dunn said.

Dunn wanted to thank the Assemi Family, who visioned the first university of its kind in the Valley.

“Without their vision and commitment in investment in the community, this university would not happen,” she said.

The annex is an addition to the larger 32,000 facility across the street and houses a large classroom, with two smaller rooms for electives, a student lounge, collaboration rooms, study spaces and faculty offices.

The expansion project at the university’s temporary campus location was finished before approximately 170 students enrolled this fall semester at the four-year Doctor of Pharmacy program with classes beginning on Aug. 22.

The target graduation for the university’s inaugural class is 2018. Dunn said CHSU was recently awarded candidate status by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, which allows graduates to take state board exam.

Clovis Mayor Nathan Magsig said the city is excited to be working with the school and is looking forward to not only this building’s opening and students occupying the space, but also the permanent campus that’s going to be built at a research and technology park near Temperance Avenue and Highway 168.

“Looking at what this school has done to the city of Clovis, it’s created a graduate program pharmacy school – the only one of its kind in the entire Central Valley – and it’s given opportunities for young men and women not only here in the Central Valley, but from across the nation, to come here get a doctorate degree and be able to practice in the area of medicine,” Magsig said.

Darius Assemi, president of Granville Homes, said the idea for the university was his brother’s and eventually became a family effort to assist in making it happen.

“So, this is really the dream of my brother Farid, which our family has been extremely supportive of and is now really a family effort to help make sure that that vision gets executed,” Assemi said.

Assemi continued, saying Clovis has been supportive during all parts of project to bring the university from vision into reality. He said there’s been “great collaboration and cooperation and support from the City of Clovis, which I want to give them a lot of credit for making this happen.”

“To be a partner and seeing this vision get executed which will eventually bring a lot of great high paying jobs to our community, hopefully take a lot of students in all over the world, all over the Valley and all over California to Clovis and hopefully many of these graduating students will end up staying here and form families, things and adding to our economy, health and well-being of all people in Central California,” Assemi added. 

Assemi said it was incredible to walk through and explore the completed building and reminded him of the work ahead.

“This is step two in a long journey that is going to take a lot of sweat and effort to make it real,” Assemi said. “It’s not going to be an easy endeavor, but we’re very committed to making sure that this ultimately becomes an entire health sciences campus.”