If the late Dr. Glenn Appelt knew his wife and daughter would establish a scholarship in his name at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, he would have been proud to see a new generation of students have the opportunity to study pharmacy, says his wife of 30 years, Jennifer Appelt.
“Glenn would have also been so honored to be remembered,” she said. “He was very modest and never sought the limelight.”
Dr. Appelt, an alumnus and former professor at CU Pharmacy, passed away in 2013 and is the namesake for one of the school’s newest endowed scholarships. A talented athlete in all sports, Appelt had the chance as a high school junior to join the St. Louis Cardinals as first baseman.
Instead, he chose pharmacy.
His legacy at the school spans three decades, and he’s remembered as a kind and dedicated professional who built a pharmacy career out of a love for teaching and research.
Appelt, who received his PhD from CU Pharmacy in 1963, worked for the CU School of Pharmacy for 30 years on the Boulder campus. Jennifer and her daughter, Christy Ann Allen Watkins, established the Glenn D. Appelt Scholarship this year as a way to continue his legacy of helping and caring for students.
The scholarship is awarded to a student with ties to Colorado’s San Luis Valley, the region where Appelt conducted much of his research. CU Pharmacy student Chelsea Vallejos was the first recipient of the new award. She accepted it in May 2019.
“Chelsea is just lovely,” Jennifer said. “She embodies all the characteristics of a kind and caring professional; she’s a role model. I could not be more excited for her to be our first Appelt scholar.”
Students come first
During his time with CU Pharmacy, Appelt taught courses in pharmacology and carried out extensive research.
Dr. Appelt’s many academic accomplishments include co-writing the textbook “Therapeutic Pharmacology” with his wife Jennifer, a former English professor at CU Boulder. The duo also co-authored the regional best-selling herb book “Nature’s Medicine Chest.” He also wrote hundreds of scientific and academic monographs and articles, served in leadership positions for professional organizations and received dozens of awards throughout his career.
His work in the San Luis Valley was the first of its kind. Jennifer said he was the first to publish research on medicinal plants from the region. Appelt did so much work there that he became part of the community and culture, even appearing once on CNN to discuss his herbal research in the region.
“The final proofs of our textbook were done at the Coneyos River Ranch in the San Luis Valley,” she said.
He also cared deeply about his students, seeing his role as an educator and mentor as a top priority.
Dr. David Kroll, a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of CU Pharmacy’s Masters and Certificate Programs, took over Appelt’s role as a pharmacology professor when he retired from the school and moved to Alabama. He got to know the Appelt family when they came back to visit Colorado, which was often as they also had a home in Estes Park.
“He was always a role model for me because as we were trying to build the research enterprise at the school, he still thought teaching was the most important thing we did,” Kroll said. “He viewed teaching as a noble, venerable endeavor.”
That stayed with him for years after he left CU Pharmacy.
After 30 years at the school, Dr. Appelt and his wife relocated to Gulf Shores in 1992 to build their dream home in Fort Morgan, Alabama. Not long after that, teaching called him back to classrooms of the University of South Alabama, Mobile and as a consultant pharmacist at Mobile Infirmary.
He also served the community of Fort Morgan as a volunteer fireman and spent much of his spare time fishing with the rest of the firemen.
“He never really did retire,” Jennifer said.
A lasting impact
Colleagues who worked with Appelt during his time with CU remember him as warm and kind. Dr. David Thompson, the associate dean for academic affairs, began working with the established pharmacology professor after Thompson arrived at CU as a research fellow. He remembers Glenn and Jennifer as kind, interesting and experienced — the type of people you’d like to be around.
Thompson said the scholarship is an “enduring remembrance of a fine man and academician.”
Jennifer, who splits her time between her daughter’s current city of Nashville and the home she shared with her husband on the beach in Alabama, said Appelt was always dedicated to CU.
After CU Boulder’s football team won a National Championship in 1990, he got a stained glass window with the CU Buffs logo installed permanently in their Alabama beach home.
Jennifer said it’s still there today.
With the new scholarship, Appelt’s legacy will live on in a new generation of pharmacy students, too.
“The scholarship represents his loyalty to the CU School of Pharmacy,” Jennifer said, adding that her husband’s teaching career at CU Pharmacy was defined by “research, love for students and a love for CU.”