Alumni Awards

CU Pharmacy Alumni Awards 2023

Watch the webinar recording of the Nov. 4th annual CU Pharmacy Alumni Awards event.

Since 2020, the CU Pharmacy Alumni Association has recognized graduates for their outstanding work in pharmacy. View past and current recipients below.

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes graduates of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy who have made distinguished contributions to the practice of pharmacy or demonstrated major accomplishments in a professional pharmacy practice or significant contributions in pharmaceutical research and development.

Horizon Alumni Award

The Horizon Alumni Award recognizes recent graduates within the last 10 years of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy who have made outstanding  contributions to the practice of pharmacy or demonstrated potential for major accomplishments in a professional pharmacy practice or significant contributions in pharmaceutical research and development. 

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes graduates of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy who have made significant contributions to the advancement and practice of pharmacy and/or pharmaceutical sciences over the whole of their career. 

Susan Finstrom, RPh '86

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Distinguished Alumni Award

Susan Finstrom is a compounding instructor in the Pharmaceutical Sciences department of University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She graduated from University of Colorado – Boulder with a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy and was selected as the Outstanding Student for the pharmacy class of 1986. The majority of Sue’s professional career has been in community pharmacy and particularly in independent pharmacies. As a CU alumnus with broad career experiences and a passion for teaching, Sue instructs and mentors the next generation of pharmacists at CU-Pharmacy.

In 1997 she was introduced to compounding pharmacy practice and discovered her passion for this pharmacy specialty.  Since then, she has served as an employee pharmacist, pharmacy manager, and consultant pharmacist for compounding practices. For over 25 years Sue has attended numerous seminars and training events focused on compounding that have included topics such as women’s health, pain and wound management, sterile product preparation, and veterinary medicine.

In 2010 she was asked to help two CU faculty members start a compounding elective which continues to be offered at CU. Her role has evolved from serving as a volunteer instructor to becoming a CU faculty member. Currently she teaches pharmaceutics, pharmacy law, and two different compounding electives. 

Kristin Holmes, PharmD '13

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Horizon Alumni Award

Kristin Holmes is the owner and head pharmacist at Capitol Heights Pharmacy, an original liquor-licensed drugstore established in 1881 in the Congress Park area of Denver. Kristin and her husband, Chris, have owned the pharmacy for the past ten years, having purchased the pharmacy on May 1, 2013, a few weeks before Kristin even graduated from the Skaggs school of pharmacy. As a student, Kristin was a member of the Colorado Pharmacist Society, Rho Chi, and Phi Lambda Sigma. She is currently serving her second year as member-at-large of the Colorado Pharmacist Society. 

When Kristin began at Capitol Heights, the pharmacy was struggling to fill enough prescriptions to stay open and did not offer any additional services other than traditional prescription filling. Now ten years later, Capitol Heights gives thousands of vaccines per year – including flu shots down to 6 months due to an innovative protocol and training from a nurse practitioner - and has begun implementing many medical services newly allowed under pharmacy scope of service, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Colorado Pharmacist Society. These medical services include birth control and naloxone prescribing, UTI treatment, cold sore treatment, travel consultations, and vaccine administration and education time—all of which Capitol Heights is able to bill through the patient’s medical insurance thanks to an arduous credentialing process. Kristin also plans to offer point-of-care testing for cold, flu, strep and HIV in the fall – also billable through medical insurance. Kristin credits much of her success to her steadfast partnership with her husband Chris.

Paul Limberis, RPh '79

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Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award

Paul Limberis, RPh graduated from the University of Colorado - School of Pharmacy in 1979.  Since that time, he held positions as a staff Pharmacist, and Pharmacy Manager/Director in Hospitals, Home Infusion, Long Term Care, and Specialty Pharmacy settings.  Paul retired as the Pharmacy Manager at The University of Colorado Hemophilia Center in 2022. Paul’s primary interests in pharmacy were in management, staff development and growth, and in promoting safe pharmaceutical practices that meet regulatory requirements. 

Paul has served in leadership and appointed positions with the Colorado Pharmacist’s Society, Colorado Chapter of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, and the American Society of Health System Pharmacists. Paul was appointed to serve on the Colorado State Board of Pharmacy for two terms from 2005 to 2013. During that time, he served as the Board President twice. He also served on the USP <797> Expert Panel 2013-2015. Paul now serves as a part-time Surveyor/Consultant/Inspector for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).

Paul received the Pharmacist of the Year Award from CPS in 1984 and 2005. In 1995, Paul was awarded the Outstanding Preceptor Award from the School of Pharmacy and was also the recipient of the Distinguished Coloradan Award in 2009. Paul received the Bowl of Hygeia award in 2012.


Laura Tyndall, PharmD (RPh '82)

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Distinguished Alumni Award

Laura Tyndall is semi-retired from hospital pharmacy and software vendor management. Shortly after graduating with her bachelor's in pharmacy at the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy in 1982, she obtained her PharmD from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in 1985. In 2021, she joined the State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Pennsylvania (SERVPA) and assisted with the pharmacist staffing of volunteers at Covid vaccine clinics sponsored by the Allentown Health Bureau, administering 50,000 vaccine doses over 11 months.

When a healthcare professional confessed to murdering 40 people with drugs in hospitals in the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania from 1988 to 2003, Laura shifted her pharmacy career to focus on the implementation of safety initiatives in healthcare systems to avoid future tragedies. Her theme of “Medications, Murder and Modernization of Healthcare Safety” positioned her as an pioneering professional in modern day informatics as she developed and piloted training programs to healthcare professionals in using health information technology and electronic medical record systems.

Kristin Speer, PharmD '12

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Horizon Alumni Award

Kristin has worked in the PBM (pharmacy benefits management) industry for her entire pharmacy career since graduation. She currently is a clinical consultant for a large, well-known PBM. Prior to that, she worked for a smaller PBM for eight years. She worked as a Clinical Pharmacist and a Manager of Clinical Services, managing a team of clinical pharmacists, providing consultation to palliative and hospice prescribers on recommended pain and symptom regimens for complex patients.

Kristin embarked on starting a consulting business, recently creating an LLC to offer clinical consulting in pain and palliative care.

She also co-founded the Psychedelic Pharmacist Association, recognizing the needs around psychedelic-based medicine in mental health. 

Edward Skaff, RPh '59

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Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award

Ed, along with his wife and CU alumna Karen, is a longtime supporter of the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. In 2018, he and Karen established the Skaff Endowed Scholarship. It was established to help promising students with their financial needs in acquiring an education at CU Pharmacy. The Skaffs also contributed to the building of the School of Pharmacy, with a boardroom named in their honor. 

He's owned and operated three pharmacies in Colorado over the course of a 44-year career in the profession. Ed also served on the Board of Directors of the Colorado National Bank of Evergreen, the Development Council for the CU School of Pharmacy, and the University of Colorado Board of Trustees.

Ed also received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce. 


Distinguished Alumni Award

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Boris Tabakoff, PhD '70 & BS Pharmacy '66

Dr. Boris Tabakoff is a nationally recognized researcher. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from the CU School of Pharmacy in 1966, Tabakoff returned to the School to pursue a PhD in Pharmacology.

He completed his doctorate in 1970, while discovering the first members of what is now called the aldose reductase family of enzymes. His work with these enzymes completed the metabolic map for the biogenic amine neurotransmitter substances, characterizing the production of reduced metabolites. These metabolites are still commonly used to monitor physiological activity of noradrenergic and serotonergic systems in humans and other animals.

Tabakoff is currently a faculty member of CU Pharmacy as a tenured professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 

Horizon Alumni

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Lucas Smith, PharmD '14

Dr. Lucas Smith is the owner of Buena Vista Drug. The Colorado Springs native started working at Buena Vista Drug in July of 2014 shortly after graduating from the CU School of Pharmacy the same year. At 29, Smith became the sole owner of Buena Vista Drug on U.S. 24 when he and his wife purchased the independent Pharmacy in August of 2017. They continue to expand and bring new services and the highest standard of care to the community.  

In addition, he operates the Salida Pharmacy & Fountain, which conjures a nostalgic sensation by reintroducing the concept of combining a fully functioning pharmacy with an old-fashioned soda fountain. Smith was also the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Young Pharmacist of the Year by the Colorado Pharmacists Society. 

Distinguished Alumni Award

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Debra Devereaux, BS '76

Debra Devereaux worked for the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center after graduation, moving through the ranks to become the assistant director of pharmacy.   

She managed Wyoming Medicaid’s drug utilization review program for 16 years at the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy and served as an Adjunct Professor. She is also an honorary University of Wisconsin Resident.

Devereaux consulted for the Gorman Health Group in 2006, eventually becoming Senior Vice President of Pharmacy and Clinical Solutions until December 2018. Currently, Devereaux and former colleagues have formed the Rebellis Group, a consulting enterprise focused on innovative strategies for health plan operations and technology.

Devereaux was selected by CU Pharmacy as the Distinguished Coloradan for 2003. She also received the Colorado Pharmacists Association Bowl of Hygeia award in June 2020. In addition, Devereaux has a long history of involvement with the American Society of Health-system Pharmacist as a past president and an ASHP fellow.

Horizon Alumni

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Kevin Kerr, PharmD '11

Dr. Kevin Kerr is the Director of Clinical Development at Aerie Pharmaceuticals where he leads early- and late-stage clinical programs to develop novel treatments for ophthalmic diseases with unmet medical need. Prior to his tenure at Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Kerr spent nine years at Allergan working on clinical-stage programs. He also served as the USC-Allergan Fellowship Program Coordinator and a fellowship mentor. He was Allergan’s first post-doctoral fellow from CU. He has authored and co-authored approximately two dozen scientific publications and is a co-inventor in 3 patents. 

Kerr has remained active with the CU community as an APPE preceptor, providing oversight for more than 30 pharmacy students (many from CU) on advanced experience rotations.  

He eared four degrees in the University of Colorado system and remains committed to his alma mater as an annual guest lecturer for the Introduction to the Pharmaceutical Industry Elective course as well as a speaker in the Dean’s Leadership Convocation series.

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