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Education leaders to head two health-related schools at University of the Pacific

Jan 15, 2020

University of the Pacific today announced Rae Matsumoto as dean of its Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Nicoleta Bugnariu as dean of its new School of Health Sciences.

“Pacific has enjoyed an excellent reputation for preparing students to become leaders in health care since 1858. We were looking for individuals whose accomplishments and drive matched our students and faculty,” said Maria Pallavicini, Pacific’s interim president. “We found that in Rae and Nicoleta. Their talent and experience will greatly benefit our students, faculty, staff and communities. I’m excited to have these exceptional leaders help shape the future of our health sciences.”

Rae Matsumoto
Rae Matsumoto
Nicoleta Bugnariu
Nicoleta Bugnariu

Matsumoto, a scientist and educator, has served as dean of the Touro University California College of Pharmacy in Vallejo since 2014. She has more than 20 years of administrative experience building collaborative, multidisciplinary educational programs and brings a deep and broad perspective of changes in pharmacy practice to ensure Pacific’s pharmacy program meets the educational and research needs of students and faculty.

“I am looking forward to being a part of the future of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, and building on the legacy of pharmacy education and practice for which the University of the Pacific is known,” Matsumoto said.

Bugnariu, vice provost of community engagement and service for University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) in Fort Worth, Texas, will join Pacific on June 1 as the founding dean of the new School of Health Sciences. She brings with her more than 20 years of higher education academic and administrative experience.

“I am delighted to join the Pacific family and have the opportunity to lead and collaborate with such talented, student-focused faculty, staff and administrators,” Bugnariu said. “We have ahead of us a great opportunity and responsibility to translate the university and school vision into reality, provide a purpose-driven, mission-centric transformational educational experience to our students, prepare them to positively shape the future of health professions, and to lead and serve their communities.”

Prior to Touro, Matsumoto was the associate dean for research and graduate programs in the School of Pharmacy at West Virginia University. Under her leadership, the school garnered record-high research funding and grew its PhD program into the largest biomedical graduate program at WVU. Matsumoto also held faculty and administrative roles at University of Mississippi, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and University of California, Irvine.

She earned her PhD in psychology at Brown University and received postdoctoral training in biochemistry and physiology at Brown and Northwestern universities.

Phil Oppenheimer will continue to serve as dean of the pharmacy school until Matsumoto joins Pacific on July 1.

Prior to her current role, Bugnariu served as the interim dean of the School of Health Professions from 2016–18 at UNTHSC. She also served as the director of research and as the associate dean of academic affairs and research in the School of Health Professions.

Bugnariu earned her PhD in neuroscience at University of Ottawa, Canada and a postdoctoral fellowship in rehabilitation sciences at McGill University in Montreal. She also completed the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program at Drexel University, College of Medicine and her executive MBA at Neely School of Business, Texas Christian University.

Pacific launched its new School of Health Sciences in fall 2019 to meet the demands of the growing health care industry. Housed at Pacific’s Sacramento Campus, the school offers accelerated master’s programs in clinical nutrition, nursing and social work that will begin in fall 2020, and a doctor of occupational therapy program that will begin in spring 2021. These programs will join existing popular programs in athletic training, audiology, physical therapy, physician assistant studies and speech-language pathology, with many offered in flexible formats. Pacific has two other renowned schools that offer professional health care degrees: Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Pacific has trained health care professionals since 1858 when the university formed the first medical school in California, now the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Media contact:
Keith Michaud | 209.946.3275 (office) | 209.470.3206 (cell) |

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