Read a Tribute to Dr. Michael Borenstein, former interim dean, by Dr. Peter Doukas, former dean, on the occasion of Dr. Borenstein's retirement on December 31, 2023.

Temple University’s School of Pharmacy, on behalf of its faculty, staff, students and alumni, honors the contributions and achievements of Dr. Michael Borenstein upon the occasion of his retirement after almost a lifetime of service. Over the decades Dr Borenstein has consistently exhibited qualities of character we seek to celebrate and nurture at Temple: honesty; fairness; compassion; sensitivity to the nuances of people and the varied circumstances that affect the lives they lead;  commitment to principles; tireless attention to the work at hand; fidelity to Temple University’s mission; as well as an excellent sense of humor informed by an understanding of the ironies inherent in the human condition. The following narrative touches upon portions of his wide-ranging efforts on behalf of our school. 

Michael Borenstein began his undergraduate education at the Temple University in the Fall of 1968. He subsequently transferred to the University of Wisconsin at Madison for a brief time and returned to the College of Arts and Sciences at Temple where he received his BA degree in 1973. After three years in the workforce, he began his 48-year association with Temple University School of Pharmacy (TUSP) in the Fall of 1976 enrolling in the entry-level pharmacy program, graduating in 1979 with his BS in Pharmacy Magna Cum Laude. He then began doctoral studies in Medicinal Chemistry at TUSP, serving as a graduate laboratory teaching assistant, completing his PhD in 1985. He thereafter served as a Post-doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Pharmacology at Hahnemann University School of Medicine and later in the same capacity in the Department of Chemistry at Temple University. During his post-doctoral work Dr. Borenstein developed an interest in the design of novel stationary phases for liquid chromatography and the development of analytical methods for the determination of substances extracted from biological matrices.  

Between 1987 and 1990 Dr. Borenstein was appointed Teaching Associate in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, assigned the task of reorganizing and teaching the required course in Biochemistry. He was also delegated to explore and develop the establishment of the Drug Research Unit (DRU), a laboratory-based entity with the capacity to attract bioanalytical and stability studies from the surrounding pharmaceutical industry on a fee for service basis; the DRU became the forerunner of TUSP’s Core Facility for Pharmacokinetics and Bioanalysis that was established approximately a decade later. In the 1989 – 1990 academic year Dr. Borenstein was successful in applying for a large-instrument teaching grant from Hewlett-Packard that resulted in TUSP receiving a state-of-the-art GC-MS system for the DRU which became the centerpiece and workhorse instrument for the lab for more than a decade. 

In 1990 Dr. Borenstein was appointed Assistant Professor on the tenure track in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1996. He was appointed Department Chair in 1996, Associate Dean in 2005, and Senior Associate Dean for Operations in 2015. He was appointed Interim Dean in 2019 and again in 2023.

Throughout most of the years of his tenure-track appointment Dr. Borenstein carried a substantial teaching assignment, especially given the many other responsibilities he sequentially accrued over time. Thus, in addition to being the sole instructor for the Biochemistry course for many years, he co-taught in four additional required courses, as needed, in the professional program, and two graduate courses; he concurrently mentored several graduate students to successful degree completion. While teaching basic pharmaceutical science courses he maintained an excellent level of clinical understanding that added to the depth of his lectures through his experience as a part-time hospital pharmacist serving nights and weekends for several years at Neumann Medical Center, a community hospital based in the heart of North Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood. Despite his many commitments he never failed to schedule individual tutoring hours for students in need of additional academic assistance. In 1996 he was voted TUSP’s AACP Teacher of the Year and in 2018 received TUSP’s Golden Apple Award for Innovation in Teaching. He also served as an HCOP Instructor for several years and a MARC Advisor, as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the Kensington Health Sciences Academy (KHSA), a North Philadelphia High School providing education and training for students in health-related specializations to prepare them for entry-level employment in the healthcare sector. As a faculty member Dr. Borenstein served on numerous collegial committees, as well as Collegial Chair.

Dr. Borenstein has co-authored a total of 62 peer-reviewed research papers, abstracts, presentations, and chapters, and one patent. He has been a principal on three instructional grants, including serving as a Co-PI (2003) on a grant from the Sloan Foundation to Temple’s College of Science and Technology (CST), and a Co-Investigator on nine industry-funded contracts (formulation, stability, and pharmacokinetics studies) and one NIH Program Grant (1992). He has served as an invited member or collaborator with: the Airways Disease Institute, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Temple University Hospital; the Advisory Committee of the Clinical Research Unit at Temple School of Dentistry; and, the Center for Substance Abuse Research at Temple School of Medicine. He has served as a reviewer and as Associate Editor for the journal Bioanalysis, and as a reviewer for Lehninger’s Principles of Biochemistry. 

Dr. Borenstein’s service and administrative contributions have played a pivotal role in establishing the operational matrix, the foundation, upon which TUSP functions as an academic enterprise for the benefit of students, faculty and staff. During his several decades of academic service he has been a part of every major decision and transition that TUSP has made, often serving as the leader and operational facilitator. As department chair he oversaw the hiring of a new generation of pharmaceutical scientists while simultaneously transitioning the basic pharmaceutical sciences curriculum to address accreditation expectations of the new entry-level Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree, in collaboration with Dr. Ina Calligaro, Chair of Pharmacy Practice during that period. Both as department chair and later in his administrative roles he has served as a mentor to new faculty, assisting them with curricular and didactic concerns, as well as decisions about acquiring new laboratory equipment. 

Dr. Borenstein was a very early adopter of computer technology in the classroom and led the establishment of the school’s first iteration of a Computer Lab. As the school’s technology needs expanded, and as part of his administrative portfolio he served as TUSP’s Technology Officer and Chair of the Computer and Technology Committee, with oversight of: all computer and software purchases; TUSP’s Information Technology Specialist, responsible for the School of Pharmacy Computer Lab and classroom technology infrastructure; and, development and maintenance of the School’s website. In this capacity he served as TUSP’s representative on five University-level computer and technology committees.

Early in his role as Associate Dean, Dr. Borenstein led the implementation of the new nationally based admissions process for the Doctor of Pharmacy program (Pharm CAS). This increased the efficiency of our own process, providing a higher yield of students with excellent academic accomplishments. Working with faculty and administration colleagues at the Main Campus, and with Dr. Calligaro at TUSP, Dr. Borenstein played a central role in developing innovative Temple-based partnerships to diversify recruitment strategies for potential pharmacy students, including: the 3 + 4 BS/Pharm D curricular option with CST; the Direct Admit option for highly qualified high school applicants entering CST; serving as a member of the Pre-Health Advising Committee; personally hosting Saturday events at TUSP for prospective pharmacy applicants and their parents. More recently, he successfully negotiated affiliation agreements with several 4-year and community colleges, to strengthen the pipeline of prospective TUSP students. 

Dr. Borenstein has served as TUSP’s Director of Continuing Professional Education, overseeing adherence to all ACPE-accreditation guidelines, reviewing programmatic content, and attending to the auxiliary revenue stream that provides discretionary funds for numerous school-based initiatives. In collaboration with Dr. David Lebo, he has also provided quality assurance oversight for TUSP’s c-GMP Facility, which has provided auxiliary income to TUSP through industry-based contracts involving the manufacture of dosage forms for clinical trials.

Since the advent of RCM budgeting, as Senior Associate Dean for Operations, Dr. Borenstein has worked with Assistant Dean for Finance and Administration Carol Buck and the dean to plan and oversee the development and execution of TUSP’s budgetary priorities. He has served as the point-person, in collaboration with Assistant Dean Buck, with the Facilities Project Delivery Group for all classroom and laboratory renovations. In the last interval he has coordinated several major construction and renovation projects for classrooms, laboratories, recitation spaces, and offices. He has had oversight of the Doctor of Pharmacy Admissions Process and Scholarship Awards, directly responsible for administering RCM-based merit-scholarship awards (awarded to incoming first professional year students, for a period of four years based on continuing academic performance), and endowment/gift-based scholarships. 

All the aforementioned accomplishments required excellent collaboration and teamwork skills with faculty, staff, University colleagues, and outside vendors, and are clearly evident strengths of Dr. Borenstein’s excellent leadership abilities. Over the years Mike Borenstein became well known to the Provost’s staff, the Budget Office, and faculty colleagues across the University. He is a “hands on” person who has been selfless in the discharge of his many responsibilities. Grounded in the Liberal Arts, the Sciences, the professional responsibilities and obligations of Pharmacy, Mike Borenstein brought a wide tapestry of sensibilities to the table to both students and colleagues alike. For those of us fortunate enough to engage him within a broader context it has been a pleasure. He’s also a pretty good guitar and banjo player. 

We deeply thank Michael Borenstein for sharing his time and efforts over several decades on behalf of our academic enterprise. We especially thank him for his steadfast friendship and brotherhood along life’s path over the decades and wish him continued good health and good fortune in the next chapter of his journey.  

Respectfully submitted,

Peter H. Doukas, PhD