Throughout his ten years at Butler University, Bruce Hancock built a name for himself. Everyone who walked the halls of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences knew his dry, quiet sense of humor and his dedication to help foster the highest quality of Butler students.
Hancock was always ready to talk with students about career choices, rotation schedules and the daily grind of pharmacy school.
Bruce Hancock, 59, died Thursday, Jan. 19 after suffering a heart attack a month earlier.
The university community is mourning the loss of a friend, a mentor and a colleague that changed the lives of many.
His was a name that everyone in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences “just knew.”
Hancock joined the Butler community in December 2001. He later served as the director of pharmacy experiential programs, where he managed rotations for Butler’s pharmacy students.
Many students who interacted with Hancock knew him as a professional who expected nothing short of greatness from his students.
“He always knew what was best for the students even when we didn’t know what was best for ourselves,” pharmacy student Kristina Niehoff said. “He strived for perfection in his career and expected the same dedication from each student.”
Hancock was known for his follow-through and made sure everything was done on time and at the highest quality.
Mike DeMarco recently finished a semester on a rotation in Washington, D.C. with the Food and Drug Administration—a rotation that he acquired with the help of Hancock.
Hancock’s experience and connections, DeMarco said, helped the P-4 student land a two-year fellowship with the United States Office of Regulatory Affairs.
Hancock had a dedication to education.
“He enjoyed pharmacy,” DeMarco said, “But he loved teaching more.”
Hancock and his wife of 34 years, Emily, were avid Butler sports fans. In an obituary, his wife wrote that between
Butler men’s and women’s basketball and Pacers games, it was not uncommon for the couple to attend three games in one week.
He often said that he loved the members of the teams like they were his own children.
COPHS Associate Dean Bruce Clayton said that faculty members will miss Hancock’s love of music and music trivia.
“It was fascinating to watch his connection to music come to life,” Clayton said.
When news spread of Hancock’s illness, former students rallied in support to coordinate visits, send cards and keep communication open with updates.
Tyler Trueg, a 2011 graduate, was one of those visitors and he was happy to see the community come together.
“People I haven’t talked to since graduation were gathering to try and figure out what we can do to support him,” Trueg said. “He had a huge impact on the university, and we wanted to show him what he meant to us.
“Butler will miss a very incredible professor. It will be tough to find someone to make an impact like he did.”
Through his mentoring and advising, Trueg said that Hancock became a memorable part of his college career.
“My time at the university is marked by the people that were there consistently, and he was definitely one of those people,” Trueg said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of Bruce.”
Hancock’s legacy is one that isn’t easily described, DeMarco said.
“Take time to really think about and appreciate what Bruce did for the college and the university,” DeMarco said.
Hancock has made an impression on the university—one that will not be forgotten.
“We’ve really been taken by the wonderful support and positive words from people from around the campus that have interacted with Bruce at all levels,” Clayton said.
Members of the Butler community are invited to attend a visitation on Jan. 27 in the Reilly Room from 4 to 8 p.m.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Jan. 28 at First-Meridian Heights Presbyterian Church, 4701 N. Central Ave.