Seventy-six students received Doctor of Pharmacy degrees
Since its initial concept in 2008, the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy has flourished in downtown Clinton, employing 45 faculty and staff with a current enrollment of 306. Now, 76 of those students are making history as the first graduating class of PharmD candidates.
The pharmacy students joined 281 undergraduates receiving Arts & Sciences degrees during the May 10 ceremonies on the West Plaza of the PC main campus.
A formal academic hooding ceremony for the doctor of pharmacy candidates was held Friday, May 9. Dr. Lucinda Maine, executive vice president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, was the keynote speaker.
“This is a significant milestone for Presbyterian College,” said President Claude C. Lilly. “As part of the Era of Excellence, we are in the planning stages to develop additional health science programs that will fall under the umbrella of the PC School of Pharmacy and aid in creating a strong inter-professional educational network in the Upstate,” he said.
“Pharmacists have evolved from dispensers of medication to providers of health care services, yet their roles continue to expand. At PCSP, we are preparing our Pharmacy students — not just for today — but for future patient care needs, clinical management, leadership and community service,” said Dr. Cliff Fuhrman, dean of the School of Pharmacy.
“This inaugural graduating class represents how far this program has come in such a short time. These students believed in the mission and vision of PCSP and were willing to come to a new program because they believed in what we were doing,” said Dr. Nancy Hope Goodbar, a PC alumna and inaugural PCSP faculty member.
Dr. Goodbar added, “This inaugural class is paving the way for all of the future PCSP graduates, and they are all going to be great advocates for the profession and representatives of our institution.”
Dr. Fuhrman said there is a mindset and practical approach focusing on the development of the relatively young faculty as well as the students at the School of Pharmacy. “All progress is made for the betterment of the school. Students come and go—faculty and staff as well, but the school must maintain the quality and integrity on which it was built,” he said.
There are many factors that contribute to the school’s success, and he believes that one is that PCSP professors know each student’s name and don’t allow them to get lost in the shuffle. “The school has become an environment that all of the faculty and staff have built to ensure the the students succeed and thrive in,” added Fuhrman.
Dr. Goodbar said, “From the first day of our student’s first year in pharmacy school, we focus on pharmacy being a service-oriented profession. The commitment to service is something that has become a culture within our program, and the students really embrace this aspect of PCSP and the pharmacy profession.”
This motivation to serve was seen both in the classroom and when the students participated in community-building projects. Dr. Fuhrman said that the students recognized that they have to be enthusiastic and motivated for the school ultimately to be successful. In five years, Dr. Fuhrman hopes that the PCSP program will continue to gain name recognition and to be known as a quality educational institution in the region.
Dr. Goodbar believes that “the inaugural class and their commitment to our program, as well as the profession of pharmacy, has solidified the foundation of bringing in students who are dedicated to upholding all of the qualities that we hold dear – honor, integrity, professionalism and service.
“Training students in a professional atmosphere that is built on honor, integrity, a sense of community and a commitment to service is the perfect environment to train pharmacists who are devoted to serving others. Watching the mere idea of a pharmacy school at PC turn into a reality has been so surreal and actually having the opportunity to be a part of the process has been a dream come true,” she concluded.
Dean Fuhrman believes “PCSP graduates are well-rounded pharmacist who will provide exceptional pharmacy care to their patients and become servant leaders in their communities.”
The PCSP motto, “‘Care for the Community’ is not just something we say, it is the reason for everything we do,” he added.
BY THE NUMBERS:
- The PCSP Class of 2014 represents 12 states, with 67% from South Carolina
- 77% of graduates seeking fulltime employment have received at least one job offer
- 75% of graduates seeking fulltime employment have accepted a job offer
- 50% of PCSP students matched with residency programs compared to a 54% national average
- More than half of the 2014 PCSP graduates will earn a salary ranging from $115,000 to $129,999
- 68% of graduates will be employed in Upstate SC
- 23% of the 2014 PCSP graduates are pursuing post-graduate education or training.
- The PCSP Class of 2014 boasts a 99% retention rate.