Henderson hurried to Louisville to recruit Littlejohn to the deanship. It would be a risk for the young professor. He was department chairman of a state university pharmacy school with an illustrious past and a bright financially secure future. He had two small children. Littlejohn paused, but Henderson later recounted that it was Mrs. Beverly Littlejohn who supported accepting the offer.
There was no interruption between Chambers departure and Littlejohn's arrival.
Littlejohn's immediate goals were to rebuild the faculty, develop the five year curriculum that must start in three years, and secure a merger with a university.
Littlejohn turned to the University of Florida and former graduate school classmates. Sam Laffoday came to teach physiology, Lord pharmacognosy, Thomasson, pharmacy. Johnson and Meyer remained. There were now PhDs covering the five major topics and a dean who himself held the terminal degree.
Initiating the five year program was a simple matter of adding an extra year liberal arts to the prepharmacy program and coordinating this with the University of Georgia. The three professional years remained much as they had been when the college expanded the professional program to three years in 1924.
Henderson and Littlejohn first approached the Atlanta Extension of the University of Georgia and their former associate George Sparks regarding a merger. However, the Board of Regents had been fighting a losing battle with Sparks for many years over the aspirations of what was originally intended to be a junior college. Academic creep was endemic on the Atlanta campus, and the School of Pharmacy was unwilling, even were the University Trustees to agree, to add a competitive professional program.
In later years Thomas Holmes Director of Development for Mercer University said that he had encouraged the University to add the school of pharmacy in spite of the handicap of the hundred mile distance. Holmes believed that Mercer needed an Atlanta presence and this would provide it. There was also some sentiment among board members to reintroduced pharmacy to the University. Lastly, the University itself was waiting a new president, and the former president was acting in an interim position. Leadership was momentarily week. It was in this vaccum that the Mercer trustees voted to accept SCP as its fifth school.
In x the Wangs joined the faculty, the husband teaching chemistry and his wife teaching pharmacy part time. They had small children. Both were graduates of the University of Wisconsin.
Two months later Rufus Harris took office as the University's xth president. Harris had just retired as president of Tulane University in New Orleans and had had experience in merging professional schools into a university. Harris came to Atlanta that fall for a dinner in his honor. Pharmacy students went to Macon that spring for graduation with liberal arts and law students.
Harris supported the need for additional funds for the school and Littlejohn hired the colleges first development officer, Murphy. Later Littlejohn would observe that a better investment would have been a recruiting officer.
In 1959 enrollment held. There were sufficient females enrolled to charter a chapter of Kappa Episilon.
In 1960 all students would now enroll for the five year program. It was necessary to recruit students who had the requisite two years prepharmacy years. Recruiting was a greater challenge now.
In 1960 the tuition was still only x a quarter,but was now it supported 7.5 PhDs and adjunct faculty who were teaching law and accounting.
In 1963 the College reported it would end the year with a significant deficit. The Board of Trustees announced that this must be cleared or the college would close at the end of the term.
Henderson and Harkwriter, manager of Marshall and Bell, and members of the Atlanta Drug and Chemical Club mobilized forces to remove the deficit by July 1.
In the meantime the Pfeiffer Foundation considering giving startup money for a pharmacy school at Clark College, one of the Atlanta's Reconstruction era demonimational institutions historically black colleges. The proprietor of the black drug chain Yates and Melton, x Yates,now a member of the Mercer Advisory Board, learned of this and with Henderso and Littlejohn, visited officials of the Pfeiffer Foundation with a proposal.
Instead of starting a new school, instead start a strong prepharmacy program at Clark. Interest students in studying pharmacy with scholarships and continue these scholarships while the completed degrees at Mercer.
Clark started the program and with x years x black students were enrolled. The Pfeiffer Foundation also awarded scholarships to white students to help enlarge the classes at this critical time.
However, periodic bailouts and scholarships did not address the financial fragility of the College. In the past it had been federal money, the GI bills of World War II and the Korean War that assured a balanced budget.
Congress, convinced that the country faced a serious shortage of physicians and nurses had passed PL of 1963, but the AACP had not yet convinced Congress to include pharmacy schools.
In the meantime the ACPE continued visits. A team came in 1963 and again in 1964.
The strong faculty of 1961 was beginning to unravel. Meyer retired in 1961, Johnson resigned to join the University of Georgia faculty in 1963, and that summer a tragic automobile accident in which the Wang family lost their daugheter coming back from the APhA meeting in Miami, led them to leave Atlanta before the end of the term. Charles Breckenridge served a single year 1973/64 as chemistry professor, but retured to his alma mater Purdue University when a opening occured. Thomasson accepted a position that same year at West Virginia University.
Fall 1964 Katherine Graham joined the faculty as chemistry professor and Lozano came to teach pharmacology. Lozano resigned two years later, but Graham did not retire until 1978, after serving for a number of years as Assistant Dean.
The ACPE sent visiting teams in 1964 and again in 1965. Disssatisfied with the financial stability of the college a letter came in early summer of 1965 from the Council. Close the school immediately and transfer students to other schools for graduation.
According to Holmes once he learned of the letter he hurried to Macon and knocked on Harris's locked office door seeking an immediate audience. Holmes assured Harris that SCP could be salvaged and asked Harris to use his influence with the ACE member of the council,one of Harris's former students.
Harris met with the ACPE at x on x, and did in fact assure them that the University was behind them and would see that the standards were maintained.
At that juncture the Congress passed x which included massive support for pharmacy school education. There would be money for buildings, scholarships, loans and special projects.
While the new five year curriculum included even more chemistry, and within then next four years three new chemistry professors, Lazaris, Lopez, an McHan joine Graham, there were signs that change was coming botoh to pharmacy an the pharmacy curriculum.
New topics such as biopharmaceutics, drug interactions, drug information centers, unit dose an parenteral nutrition were being pioneered by pharmacists attached to a few university hospitals. With the passage of the 1965 Medicare Act hospitals gained a more reliable income source and their enlarge services began to affect pharmacists.
Clinton Lord,on graduating from the University of Florida, had taken a position at the University of Buffalo College of Pharmacy and seen these trends begin to develop then. While he came to SCP as professor of pharmacognosy, his more important contibution was to introduce an elective class in hospital pharamacy in 1968. Seeing a need for pharmaceutical services in several small private psychiatric hospitals in Atlanta he began providing such services to them and in 1963 the GPhA published a book of case studies in which Lord described how community pharmacists might manage pharmacies for small hospitals.
In the meantime another trend in society began to attract the notice of students an faculty. The culture of the 1960s had led to a resurgence in drug abuse. Vincet Lopez led the students in organizing drug abuse teams. Littlejohn,Lopoz and other faculty members visited a church sponsored social facility for at risk teenagers in "tight squeeze" midtown Atlanta. Littlejohn organized the faculty in presenting a series of weekly lectures on the scientific aspects of drugs of abused for the Atlanta clergy.
While members of the Student APhA would picket the San Franciso meeting in 1969, calling for the legalizatio of marijuana, Mercer students were not among them. In fact while Mercer students would let their hair grow a bit longer, and women students woul d conceded to the trend for pants suits and mini skirts, they confined their picketing to a single march with banners protesting the price increase by the parking lot next to 223 Walton St.