Dr. Ewart Swinyard and his Contribution to Pharmaceutical Progress in Universities

By Bryce Merrill

Ewart A. Swinyard was born January 3, 1909, in Logan, Utah. Later in life he was a student, professor and dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Utah. He taught the students about advances made in the field of pharmaceutical research and founded the U’s school of Alcoholism and Drugs. He was constantly looking at the future of pharmacology and felt the need to instill that urgency in students of the field as well. He died on July 10, 1997.


Dr. Ewart A. Swinyard in 1961. He delivered a lecture around this time about the future of pharmacology on campus. From The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 20, 1961.

Swinyard had a degree in zoology from Utah State University and later received a degree in pharmacology from the University of Utah, Idaho State University, and the University of Minnesota each. (The Deseret News) The Provo Sunday Herald reported that he was one of the first people to get a graduate degree from the University of Utah in 1947. The Vernal Express noted that he even received an honorary doctorate from Utah State University in 1983 in the university’s 90th commencement.

Swinyard was interested in all advances in the pharmaceutical field he stated in an address on the University of Utah Campus in 1961. He said he hoped that expenditures in drug research would increase which would indicate more progress was being made in the field. (The Daily Utah Chronicle) He also discussed methods used to discover new drugs. The methods he discussed were; accidents, specifically designed chemical structures, and screening of new drugs, as reported by the Chronicle before his talk on October 19, 1961.

In a speech Swinyard gave in 1977 titled “Research and Graduate Education in Pharmacy: Looking Back – Looking Forward” he expressed his concern with the state of the contributions of universities and colleges to progress in the field. He emphasized that “tomorrow … is being made today” to point out that if the university did not focus on educating students better and increasing its contribution to science it could be left behind in the future. (Ewart Anslie Swinyard Papers, Box 8, Folder 1)


Dr. Swinyard running an experiment on a mouse while researching a cure for epilepsy in 1967. From The Daily Utah Chronicle, May 9, 1967.

One of the focuses of Swinyard’s work was finding a cure for seizures and epilepsy. The Salt Lake Telegram, on August 13, 1949, reported he was part of a team doing research on epilepsy. Another article, again in The Daily Utah Chronicle on May 9, 1967, states that Dr. Swinyard had “been investigating convulsive disorders for 20 years.” His research involving mice was cited by Dr. David L. Hiner, the then dean of the School of Pharmacy, as getting “health sciences … closer to the solution of the control of epileptic seizures than ever before.”

Eighteen years later The Daily Utah Chronicle published an article about Swinyard’s continued research on curing epilepsy. At that time, he was the director of the Antiepileptic Drug Development Laboratory in the U’s College of Pharmacy. He said the “NIH (National Institute of Health) decided to start a program of their own” when it found out no pharmaceutical firm was actively working on an anti-epileptic drug.

Dr. Ewart A. Swinyard’s contributions as the dean and founder of the University of Utah’s College of Pharmacy helped shape the school’s future thanks to his forward-thinking attitude. (The Deseret News) Dr. Swinyard was an important part of the university’s past, present, and future due to his foresight and focus. His constant commitment to furthering not just the school’s place in its field but to developing life changing drugs to help others, Dr. Swinyard’s presence is felt by all those who have benefited from the School of Pharmacy, be they student or teacher.

Bryce Merrill is a senior at the University of Utah. He is majoring in strategic communication and minoring in sociology.

Primary Sources

900 Students Get Diplomas,” Provo Sunday Herald, June 15, 1947, 5.

DeVan Shumway, “Physician Sees Possibility Of Cure for Epilepsy,” Salt Lake Telegram, August 13, 1949, 10.

Elaine Krans, “Dr. Ewart Swinyard Set Lecture On ‘Drugs From Laboratory To Man,’” The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 19, 1961, 1.

Swinyard Cites Progress In Pharmacy Research,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, October 20, 1961, 1.

Epileptic Control,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, May 9, 1967, 5.

Researchers test mice for cure of seizures,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, September 30, 1985, 13.

USU Graduates Listed for 1983,” Vernal Express, May 25, 1983, 20.

Funeral set for Ewart A. Swinyard,” Deseret News, July 14, 1997.

Secondary Source

Swinyard, Ewart Anslie. The Ewart Anslie Swinyard Papers, 1945-1987. Box 8, Folder 1, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.