The Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy sent 53 new doctors of pharmacy into the world Friday – encouraging them to serve with integrity and become passionate advocates for their patients and profession.
PC president Dr. Matthew vandenBerg reminded the school’s ninth graduating class that their success – while excellent – was not achieved without support from faculty, staff, family, and friends.
“As the polymath Albert Schweitzer reminds us at times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person,” he said. “Each of us has cause to thank, with deep gratitude, those who lighted the flame within us. Today and in the days to come, remember the people who lighted your flame with their sacrifices, their care, and their love. Recognize that your graduation represents a passing of that proverbial torch.”
As new pharmacists on the front line of health care, it is now the Class of 2022’s turn to serve and care, vandenBerg said.
“As you already know, it is not just about the science,” he said. “You have unlimited chances to shine for others – to inspire others and to light the flame within them. You are now ambassadors for yourselves, your loved ones, and for Presbyterian College. In the years ahead, we’re going to be here supporting and admiring your work – watching proudly as you embody our motto, ‘While We Live, We Serve.'”
The School of Pharmacy’s Teacher of the Year, Dr. Katherine Hanlon, told graduates that they, not their grades, are the outcome of four years of hard work and study.
“You are the product of this curriculum,” she said. “You cannot be defined by a number on a piece of paper, and I don’t care what your classmates’ grades are or what they are doing – absolutely no one but you has any bearing on what you bring to the table and what you will do in this world.”
The two-time winner of the PCSP’s Teacher of the Year award gave her former students one more list of objectives to remember. Hanlon told them to choose integrity in their personal and professional lives and to grow and seek new experiences. She told them to focus on the present and balance their lives been work and family.
Hanlon also said graduates should choose kindness and gratitude, and she encouraged them to do good in the world.
“Realizing all of the good things that you are fortunate enough to experience will also help you to understand what lacking any of those comforts might mean,” she said. “Former chair of the federal reserve Ben Bernanke tells us that ‘Cynicism is a poor substitute for critical thought and constructive action.’ So help those who need it in meaningful ways, and you will find yourself all the more richer for it.”
Her classmates selected the Class of ’22’s Anna Phillips as the Distinguished Graduating Student Speaker. In her address, Phillips asked the class to remember what they were thinking and feeling during their white coat ceremony in 2018.
“I realized on the day of my white coat ceremony, I was excited, happy and a little nervous,” she said. “But you want to know what I wasn’t? I wasn’t a pharmacist. I didn’t know what a monoclonal antibody was or the treatment dose of Enoxaparin. I didn’t fully understand the work that was to come or the sacrifices I would eventually make. If I had to guess, the majority of us were probably in the same boat. When the white coat was put on our shoulders that day, it was not a symbol of who we were in that moment. It was a symbol of what we all had the potential to become.”
Through hard work, sacrifice, and discipline, Phillips said the class emerged triumphantly and armed with the skills to succeed.
“We have a power now that can never be taken away – knowledge,” she said. “We have learned and practiced the necessary skills to protect our patients’ lives. The hard work was the catalyst to develop the patience, empathy, and wisdom needed in our profession. If there were any of you out there like me, who at times questioned the purpose of all that we’ve been through, I hope you see the value in it now, here at the finish line.”
The School of Pharmacy also recognized distinguished members of the Class of 2022 and others. Honors presented at the hooding ceremony were:
- PC School of Pharmacy Alumnus of the Year – Dr. Chris Nappi ‘17
- Viatris Excellence in Pharmacy Award – Kathryn Harison
- Merck Manuals Award for Academic Excellence – Rachel Robinson and Lori Smith
- Wolters Kluwer Health Award of Excellence in Clinical Communication – Morgan Morris
- PC Mortar & Pestle Award – Rachel Kestin
Certificates and pins for completing the School of Pharmacy’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program were presented to:
- Ashley Davis
- Arhontissa Parkalakis
- Deondre Parks
- Priyanka Patel
- Roma Patel
Awards presented at the school’s annual awards ceremony in April were:
- Preceptor of the Year – Dr. Amber Metts, Clinical Pharmacy, Newberry County Memorial Hospital
- Faculty Preceptor of the Year – Dr. R.J. Sangiovanni
- Student Advocate of the Year – Elizabeth Green
- While We Live, We Serve Awards – Susi Carbonneau and Dr. Talisha Ratliff
- Faculty Researcher of the Year – Dr. Katie Ellis
Students who are continuing their education in post-graduate training also were recognized:
- Cassie Banks
- Kennedy Crosby
- Daijah Davis
- Trevoria Dendy
- Marshall Hardee
- Rachel Kestin
- Victoria Miles
- Quyen Nguyen
- Roma Patel
- Anna Phillips
- Rachel Robinson
- Amanda Smith
- DeVon Suber
- Coua Xiong-Vang