Outstanding Achievement Award Recipient
College of Pharmacy, September 12, 2011
Kenneth L. Evenstad is the chairman and CEO of Upsher-Smith Laboratories, a Minnesota-based pharmaceutical company renowned for its innovative, affordable products that improve lives. He graduated from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota in 1967. After graduation, he went on to become a pioneering leader in drug development, a recognized business leader, a dedicated philanthropist, an outstanding mentor, and founder of Domaine Serene Vineyards and Winery. When he purchased Upsher-Smith Laboratories in 1969, it was a failing family business with three employees. Since then, he built it into a company with more than 60 developed pharmaceutical products, 650 employees, and four locations. In 1987, he collaborated with faculty in the College of Pharmacy and the Medical School to develop a product to stop severe seizures. This new therapy drug, Diastat(TM), fundamentally altered the way patients with refractory epilepsy are treated by allowing family or other caregivers to treat severe seizures. The partnership with University of Minnesota faculty resulted in faculty gaining substantial experience in clinical drug development and orphan drug issues, the training of post-doctoral fellows, grants and contracts to the University, publication of numerous reports in major scientific and medical journals, and international recognition of the University of Minnesota in the development of rectal diazepam. He has also offered Upsher-Smith as a teaching site for pharmacy and graduate students. His accomplishments as a business leader have been recognized by several awards including a 2001 award for Entrepreneur of the Year from Twin Cities Business Monthly, a Minnesota Business Ethics Award in 2000, and the 2008 and 2010 awards for "Best Branded Pharmaceutical Company with less than $300M in Sales," given by the industry. He is also a dedicated philanthropist, which he has demonstrated through the establishment of the Evenstad Family Foundation. The Foundation supports local charitable organizations such as St. David's Early Learning School, Ascension School, Cristo Rey, Kid's First, Heritage Foundation and many more. In addition, he serves as a Trustee and on the Board of Directors of the Naples Children's Education Fund in Florida.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.