A model for others: Linda Ford Lane scholarship supports women in pharmacy

A 1962 ad for pharmaceutical manufacturer Parke-Davis featured a woman pharmacist - a rarity for those days - among shelves of pill bottles, intently examining a vial. The company's tagline read, "Parke-Davis… Pioneers in better medicines."

The model in the ad, Linda Ford Lane '52, was also a model for women in pharmacy. One of only a few women graduating in the Wayne State University College of Pharmacy class of 1952, she was a pioneer in her field. In recognition of that contribution, an anonymous donor has established an endowed scholarship in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences promoting a commitment to the study and practice of pharmacy by women.

Magazine Ad for Parke-Davis

Lane passed away in 2021 at the age of 91, but the Linda Ford Lane Endowed Scholarship Fund will be awarded annually to leading pharmacy students who are active members of the Lambda Kappa Sigma (LKS) international women's professional pharmacy fraternity.

One of the earliest and most enthusiastic members of LKS, Lane served as president of both the local and national chapters. She worked in various pharmacies before joining the research and development department at Detroit-based Parke-Davis, once the largest pharmaceutical company in the world. While in pharmacy school, she met her husband Alexander Lane, Ph.D. '54, M.D. '58, and they married in 1956.

Lane's niece and goddaughter, Cindy Hicks, said the scholarship ensures that Lane will always be a strong role model for women in pharmacy.

"I feel that my aunt would want young women to know what a wonderful opportunity they have at Wayne State," Hicks added. "She would want students to gain strengths from one another and develop leadership skills in school and activities like LKS that they can carry through life."

Sabrina Adragna, a PharmD student among the first recipients of the scholarship, said she tries to embody Lane's leadership values by participating in LKS, interning at Corewell Health Hospital, serving as class treasurer for the pharmacy class of 2025, and serving as president of Phi Lambda Sigma, the honor society for pharmacy students.

"To me, leadership is making a difference in communities, and Linda made a real difference in her community," said Adragna. "I am exposing myself to different volunteer opportunities and diverse experiences so I can be the best fit for any career path I come across. With Linda's accomplishments and aspirations in mind, I plan to continue promoting women in pharmacy."

That plan set by Adragna speaks to the goals of the scholarship, while also reflecting the kind of person loved and remembered by Hicks and the family and friends of Linda Ford Lane.

"My aunt was always curious about learning, and as much as she was a brilliant scientist, there was also a huge creative component in her life," Hicks said. "She had unmatched culinary skills, was a certified judge in floral design and a competitive athlete. She was the full package. She was brilliant."

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