“Going to the UA was a game-changer for me,” said Jay Shepard '81 BSBA Marketing. “It helped prepare me to launch my career and for that I am forever grateful. I am privileged to have enjoyed an interesting, challenging, and rewarding career and I owe that to the UA.”
Shepard has over 25 years of experience as a leader in pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and drug delivery product commercial operations and management. He is currently the executive-in-residence of Sofinnova Ventures, Inc. and is past president and CEO of Relypsa and NextWave Pharmaceuticals, the latter of which was acquired by Pfizer in a deal valued at $700 million.
But when he was a student at the UA, Shepard worked 40 hours a week at Gentle Ben’s while taking classes.
“As a student who worked to put themselves through college, I made sure to make time to take advantage of the many opportunities available to me as a UA student. The marketing department was top-notch and very well respected.”
Shepard comes back to campus when he can. “I enjoy talking with the current generation of students,” he said. “It’s fun to see how the learning environment has changed, but some things still remain the same – such as the importance of good teachers and great mentors.”
Now, Shepard is part of the changing learning environment at Eller. He had made a leadership gift to the Professional Development Center. “I know how competitive the marketplace is,” he said. “I want to help to ensure UA business students are well-prepared to become the next generation of industry leaders.”