The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Sort Interviews by Affiliation or Theme

John Block Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

August 5, 2014


“OSU Pharmacy in an Era of Change”  August 5, 2014  Location: Block residence, Corvallis, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Block discusses his family background and upbringing in Yakima, Washington and his undergraduate experience as a pharmacy student at Washington State University. From there he describes his time as a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin and the differences that he observed between Wisconsin and WSU.

The bulk of the session focuses on Block's thirty-seven years as a member of the OSU Pharmacy faculty. In discussing his career, Block comments on his initial impressions of the school, changes in the organization of the Pharmacy College, and the evolution of the Pharmacy teaching curriculum. He also recounts his memories of campus culture with a particular focus on the tenure process and the influence of President Robert MacVicar.

Block likewise reflects on colleagues that were important to him and to the College of Pharmacy, recalls his sabbatical experience working at Stanford with Carl Djerassi, notes the emphasis placed on communication skills for OSU Pharmacy students, and describes his work with the National Science Foundation Panel for Instructional Scientific Equipment. In addition, Block recalls the creation of a satellite Pharmacy campus in Portland and the increasingly close ties between OSU and OHSU that ensued, and remarks on the shift in OSU's program away from a B.S. in favor of a Pharm.D.

The interview also includes discussion of Block's professional work off of the OSU campus, including his eight years with the Oregon Board of Pharmacy and the board's role in interpreting and implementing Oregon's assisted suicide law. He also notes his work with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Committee, his interest in the theory of general anesthesia, and his volunteer duties as a certified Medicare resource. The session concludes with Block's reflections on change and growth at OSU.