Published on March 4, 2021 by Sarah Waller  
Thigpen Jonathan

As Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy prepares to launch its new Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum in fall 2021, the school announced the appointment of Jonathan Thigpen as assistant dean for curricular innovation and professional development.

Thigpen is not new to the Samford community. McWhorter School of Pharmacy is his alma mater—a 2011 alumnus—and his roots run deep. His mother served on Samford’s faculty, and his grandparents worked at the university too. “I remember going to football games when I was a kid. I would slide down the hill on a piece of cardboard. It feels great to be back. It feels like home,” he said.

While Thigpen did not have plans to pursue a career in academia when he was a student, an academic rotation with professor Bruce Waldrop during his fourth year planted a seed that continued to grow. His initial interest in clinical pharmacy led him to a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacogenetics at University of Alabama at Birmingham, but his career made a distinct shift when we committed to a second fellowship with Duquesne University focused on academics and research. He comes to Samford after serving on the faculty at Notre Dame of Maryland University’s School of Pharmacy for six years.

In his new role as assistant dean, Thigpen will oversee the implementation of the McWhorter School of Pharmacy’s new and innovative curriculum while also working to empower faculty to grow professionally. “I really enjoy mentoring and working to improve others—more so than myself,” he said. “I’m joining an established faculty, with a diverse range of specialties and experience. I know it’s going to be a great place for me to continue to grow and learn as well.”

Practice and Team Ready

As McWhorter School of Pharmacy’s faculty plan to launch its new Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum, titled Practice and Team Ready, this fall, Thigpen will play an important role in finalizing all of the details and ensuring faculty are equipped with the resources they need to transition well.

“The new curriculum is innovative and challenging, which for me, is a lot of fun. It has a complexity with its integrated and layered approach, making the process of finalizing all the details an exciting challenge,” he said.

Learn more about McWhorter School of Pharmacy’s curriculum transformation at

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.