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PhilMayerPhil Mayer, Ph.D., is a past president of AAPS and is currently a clinical pharmacology consultant. Mayer serves as chair of the AAPS Foundation executive committee.

I am old enough to take a more retrospective look at my life now. As part of that, I remember people and places that have influenced and guided me during my career.

Like many of us, I developed a desire to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical sciences as an undergraduate student, but my decision to enroll in pharmacy school was made early in high school. Thus, I understand and appreciate the importance of acquainting young people with solid career choices.

During my graduate career at the University of Kentucky, my major professor, Dr. Harry Kostenbauder, and many others took the time to mentor me. And it was clear that I needed a lot of encouragement and direction! I was really unaware at that time of the expense of a graduate research program. I simply went into Dr. Kostenbauder’s office with a purchase order and somehow it never occurred to me that someone was paying for these supplies, even providing my stipend, meager as it was. I quickly learned these basic economic realities when I joined academia.

Yes, pharmaceutical scientists are not born and hired directly into a research environment with ready-made skills. That is the primary reason I choose to support my university and the AAPS Foundation. I want students to feel the same excitement and have the same opportunities I had—from science teachers in high school to a summer undergraduate research experience to a cutting-edge graduate student project.

I am not alone in my desire to give back. In fact, Giving USA reported that, in 2012, $316 billion was given by individuals, foundations, and corporations in the United States.

I am willing, even happy, to provide a gift to the AAPS Foundation to assist the next generation of pharmaceutical scientists. I view this as more than a charitable gift in the usual sense: It is really an investment in the future. Just like a more established colleague helped a young scientist from eastern Kentucky mature and begin a rewarding career, I plan to invest in that new, energetic investigator through the AAPS Foundation.

I hope you will join me and help make a difference as we launch the AAPS Foundation. This will allow us all to give back to an organization and help someone establish a new career path that honors those who came before us. I’m certain that our investment will pay off in the next generation of pharmaceutical scientists!