The final pieces have fallen into place to create a college of pharmacy in East Texas.
Last week, The University of Texas System Board of Regents officially created the college at The University of Texas at Tyler, according to a university news release.
It will be named the Ben and Maytee Fisch College of Pharmacy after a contribution from the family's foundation.
A varied group of East Texas hospitals, businesses and higher education institutions supported the college's establishment, according to the news release.
In addition, Texas legislators supported the passage of the bill that authorized the university to create the program and Gov. Rick Perry signed it. The program will be the seventh one in Texas.
"This is truly an historic occasion, and a great addition for UT Tyler and the entire East Texas community," UT Tyler Provost Alisa White said in the news release.
In addition to establishing the college and authorizing the name, the board of regents also granted UT Tyler the authority to start work on the building to house the college.
Design will begin immediately, and construction is scheduled to start by March.
Earlier this month, the university hired Dr. Lane Brunner to serve as the college's founding dean.
Brunner will lead the accreditation process with the goal to accept the first class of students in fall 2015.
Regent Steven Hicks, chairman of the board's Academic Affairs Committee, said UT Tyler's College of Pharmacy will directly address the state's need for more pharmacists, according to the news release.
"We will be able to train more pharmacists in their home state, who will in turn stay in Texas to work," Hicks said, according to the news release.
UT Tyler President Rod Mabry first envisioned the idea for a pharmacy school in 2003.
After almost 10 years of consideration and groundwork, a news story about a self-sustaining pharmacy school at East Tennessee State University inspired Mabry. He partnered with other area leaders to create a similar model here.
UT Health Northeast will partner with UT Tyler on the research to be conducted at the pharmacy school.
"Our mission is to improve the lives of Texans through education, research and health care," UT System Chancellor Dr. Francisco Cigarroa said in the news release. "The partnership between UT Tyler and UT Health Northeast to create a college of pharmacy fulfills this mission perfectly."