The APhA Foundation has established an endowed scholarship in honor and memory of Mary Munson Runge. As a pioneer for women in pharmacy, Runge became the first female and African American president of APhA. She served for two terms from 1979 through 1981. Mary also actively supported pharmacy in her state, serving on the California State Board of Pharmacy and as president of the California Pharmacists Association.
Runge received extensive recognition for her political activities and leadership roles, including honorary doctor of pharmacy degrees, as well as federal appointments on the Institute of Medicine Pharmacy Advisory Panel, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and the Prescription Drug Payment Review Commission.
Growing up in Donaldsonville, LA, Runge watched her father, a physician who owned the town’s first pharmacy, provide medications to those who could not afford them. She attended Xavier University School of Pharmacy, and was one of the few women in the profession when she graduated in 1948. Runge’s personal passion to help those who could not pay for their medications led her to work at a pharmacy in Oakland, CA. She wanted to practice in an environment where she could work with patients who needed her most.
The scholarship will be awarded to a deserving APhA-ASP student member on an annual basis. Runge will always be remembered as a role model to the profession, so it is fitting that the scholarship dedicated in her name will help pave the way for future leaders of pharmacy.