In Memoriam: Michael Z. Wincor, PharmD

Michael Z. Wincor, PharmD ’78, associate professor of clinical pharmacy, psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at the USC School of Pharmacy and the Keck School of Medicine of USC, died Friday, November 30 in Long Beach, Calif. He was 72. He was an expert in sleep and anxiety disorders, clinical psychopharmacology, psychiatric pharmacy practice and global pharmacy education.

“Michael contributed to the field of pharmacy for more than 35 years as an educator, administrator and mentor and he benefited countless students through his contributions in the field of global pharmacy,” says Vassilios Papadopoulos, dean of the USC School of Pharmacy. “He was one of a kind and will be greatly missed by his colleagues in the school and around the world and by the students who were his passion.”

As associate dean for global initiatives, Wincor served as a visiting faculty member and collaborated on pharmacy curriculum at universities throughout Asia and in Europe. He facilitated exchange programs with dozens of universities in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Ireland, Korea, the Philippines and other countries, allowing students and faculty an opportunity to both host and visit sister institutions.

Wincor made an early decision to pursue psychiatric pharmacy. After completing USC’s psychiatric pharmacy residency program in 1979, he created a new position as a psychiatric pharmacist at Brotman Hospital in Culver City and taught pharmacy students in a psychiatric pharmacy clerkship. From that experience, he decided to pursue an academic career, joining USC’s clinical faculty in 1983 to expand and improve the school’s presence in the LAC+USC Adult Psychiatric Clinic.

“Michael always asked the probing questions that needed to be asked,” says Glen Stimmel, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of clinical pharmacy who directed Wincor’s psychiatric pharmacy residency in 1978-79. “He had a profound positive impact on those who had the opportunity to work with him. He was a valued colleague, highly respected by his fellow faculty, staff and students.”

A board-certified psychiatric pharmacist, Wincor later took over the directorship of the school’s psychiatric pharmacy residency, training pharmacy students and residents, medical students and psychiatry residents both in the classroom and the clinic.

“He was a student-first faculty member,” says Steven Chen, associate dean for clinical affairs. “It was in his DNA. He was always gracious and collaborative, and he sought opportunities to connect people. He was a role model, and his passing is a huge loss in teaching leadership for the school.”

A founding member of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacy (CPNP), Wincor was the 2007 recipient of the national organization’s prestigious Saklad Memorial Lecture Award and Lecture, which recognized his professional distinction in and dedication to the practice of psychiatric pharmacy.

A 15-Time Professor of the Year

Wincor held many administrative roles throughout his career. At the time of his death, he was the executive vice president of Rho Chi National Pharmacy Honor Society. He served as president of the USC School of Pharmacy Alumni Association from 1998-2007 and as advisor to the USC student chapters of the American Pharmacists Association and the Rho Chi National Pharmacy Honor Society.

Known for his daily habit of wearing a freshly cut red carnation in his lapel, Wincor was named Professor of the Year for the USC School of Pharmacy 15 times over the course of his career. He was named a fellow of the USC Center of Excellence in Teaching in 2012 and a distinguished fellow in 2015.

PharmD student Ana Barron recalls Wincor’s open office door, his friendly demeanor and his unique way of tilting his head to make pointed eye contact with students. “He’d always give you the look, the ‘Dr. Wincor look,’” Barron says. “He was always proactive about making sure students were OK. He took the time to really get to know you. He took the time to say my last name correctly, by rolling his r’s. He would strategically move dates of quizzes so it was less stressful for us, to ensure we succeeded. He’s truly irreplaceable. He was just so loved.”

Wincor received his PharmD from the University of Southern California in 1978 and received his B.S. in zoology from the University of Chicago, where he was actively involved in sleep research.

Wincor is survived by his two daughters, Katie and Meghan, and grandchildren.

If you would like to make a memorial contribution to the Michael Z. Wincor Endowed Scholarship Fund, please contact Cheryl Stanovich at stanovic@usc.edu or 323-442-1738.