A World of Opportunities John P. and Constance A. Curran Pharmacy Scholarship Fund

Issue Date: 
March 16, 2009
Constance A. and John P. CurranConstance A. and John P. Curran

John P. Curran decided to pursue a career in pharmaceuticals so that he could see the world.

As a teenager from the Bronx who delivered prescriptions for his local pharmacy, Curran recognized the successes that the pharmaceutical industry could offer. “Even as a kid, I could see that there was a lot of potential to do well in the field,” Curran recalls.

After making sure the profession didn’t rely too heavily on Latin—his least favorite subject in school—Curran pursued his undergraduate degree in pharmacy at Fordham University. Following graduation from Fordham in 1966, Curran enrolled in the PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.

At Pitt, Curran studied pharmaceutical economics, a track that honed his skills for understanding and analyzing the business side of the drug industry. “I loved my time in Pittsburgh,” Curran says. “The academic work was interesting and challenging, the students and city residents were nice, and of course I met my wife there, so it was a great experience!”

After marrying and completing his course work in Pittsburgh, Curran applied for a number of jobs and was hired by Pfizer, Inc., in New York City. There, Curran completed his Pitt PhD dissertation while directing Pfizer’s public policy research.

Curran moved to Wall Street in 1975, taking a job as a securities analyst specializing in the health care industry. “I knew that Wall Street would be a great opportunity for me to perform without having to worry about the politics that had dictated my previous job,” Curran says.

It was during his time on Wall Street that Curran realized his dream of seeing the world, traveling across the globe to work with clients in Korea, India, and beyond. “It was just wonderful,” he remembers. “I learned so much about how to do business in such a short time, it was amazing.”

Continued success through the 1970s and into the 80s allowed Curran to develop a simple yet sophisticated approach to analyzing stocks: Eschewing detail, Curran instead learned to focus on one or two critical issues that make a stock valuable. “I only have a handful of good ideas!” he says with a chuckle. “People can write complicated reports about all kinds of variables that can impact a stock’s price, but I don’t want to get into all that. I look at the one big thing that will move a stock, and that’s it.”

It is this philosophy that formed the backbone of Curran Capital Management, a health care equity fund established in 1986 that Curran manages to this day.

In 1998, Curran and his wife, Constance, gave back to the University of Pittsburgh by establishing the John P. and Constance A. Curran Pharmacy Scholarship Fund, the most generous gift of its kind in the history of the School of Pharmacy. The Curran scholarship is awarded annually and provides assistance to academically qualified students who demonstrate financial need, with preference given to students from underrepresented populations.

Surely, the Currans’ generosity will continue to open up new worlds for scholarship recipients in the years to come.