Donald Therasse, Dean’s Advisory Committee Member and Alumni Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, has Died
Donald G. Therasse, BSPharm’78, MD, passed away on Sunday, February 13 at his home in Spring Lake, Michigan. Dr. Therasse joined the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy Dean’s Advisory Committee in 2003 and served for over 18 years. He was awarded the College’s Alumni Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
Dr. Therasse received both a BS degree in pharmacy and his MD degree from the University of Michigan. He trained as an intern and resident in internal medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle and did a subspecialty fellowship in infectious diseases at the University of Michigan Medical Center.
Dr. Therasse accepted a position in Research and Development at Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis, the beginning of a 26-year career where he also served as Head of US Medical Affairs, Vice President of Global Medical Affairs, and Vice President of Global Patient Safety. He was instrumental in establishing the bioethics committee at Eli Lilly, a pioneering feat in the pharmaceutical industry. His achievements include over 30 publications and the Eli Lilly Chairman’s Ovation Award. However, the countless close relationships he forged during his career brought him more pride and joy than any professional accolades.
“Don personified the ideal Michigan grad,” says Frank Ascione, PhD, Dean Emeritus of the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, and professor of pharmacy. “He was very smart but equally caring and kind to all those he met. He made a significant difference to his colleagues and the pharmaceutical industry through his leadership and his exceptional understanding how to produce safe and meaningful drug products. He will be a great loss to his family, friends and College of Pharmacy.”
“Don was an alumnus who was passionate that the College and the University kept the highest standards for education, research, and ethics,” says Peter Niedbala, executive director, U-M Pharmacy Advancement and External Relations. “He was generous with his time and resources, fun to be around, kind, supportive, and someone to whom I aspired to be like. I’ll miss him.”
He leaves behind his wife, Patricia; children Christopher (Ashley) and Michelle (Curt) Longcore; five grandchildren, Parker, Cooper, Lia, Jack and Connor; and sisters Denise and Diane. Dr. Therasse’s daughter, Michelle Longcore, is also a graduate of the University of Michigan, earning her PharmD degree in 2009.