The Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy opens its arms to the new Class of 2027 Friday during the school’s 14th annual White Coat Ceremony.
Before donning their white coats to mark the beginning of their four-year doctoral programs, the group also formally signed PCSP’s Roll of Honor and Pledge of Professionalism.
Pharmacy school dean Dr. Giuseppe Gumina thanked new students for choosing PC and assured them they made the right choice.
“You have joined a distinguished program that boasts an outstanding faculty and outstanding outcomes,” he said. “In fact, we had the best three-year average first-time pass rate in the national pharmacy board exam in the state. Similarly, for the last two years, our particular residency placement rate has been close to 90 percent, which is a very high number.
“But numbers aside, the competence and professional success of our graduates stands as the most important testimony. Four years from now, you will belong to the growing number of PCSP alumni who make us proud.”
PC president Dr. Anita Gustafson reminded the Class of ’27 of pharmacists’ pivotal role in healthcare and their profound impact on patient care and outcomes. The most important lesson they must learn is compassion, she said.
“You will learn technical skills and scientific knowledge in the PC PharmD program, but also at PC, you will learn more,” Gustafson said. “You will also learn to embrace and demonstrate the vital skills of empathy and compassion that will set you apart from others. As you may know, PC’s motto is ‘While We Live, We Serve’ – Dum Vivimus Servimus.
“Service is embedded in everything we do. It’s in our DNA. At PC, we import an appreciation for and a commitment to serving others, especially in the profession of pharmacy. So, as you don your web coats, remember the responsibility it carries as you progress through the program to your hooding ceremony four years from now.”
Dr. Christopher Nappi, a 2017 graduate of PCSP and a pharmacist at the Spartanburg Medical Center, was awarded the 2022-23 Preceptor of the Year Award for teaching and mentoring fourth-year pharmacy students.
In his address to the Class of ’27, Nappi said he learned early in pharmacy school that he wanted teaching to be part of his professional journey.
“It’s an incredible thing to realize that teaching is not just a role, but a fundamental part of the pharmacist’s identity,” he said. “My favorite things about precepting in this role is that I don’t have to really be an expert in any one thing. My goal is to help students lay the groundwork for things that will come up later on or possibly build on things that they already know.”
Students will discover that pharmacy is a small world, Nappi said.
“Every day from this point forward, you’ll interact with another member of this profession,” he said. “I currently work with people that precepted me as a student. And I work beside people that I’ve precepted. You never know who your next boss or coworker might be – even one sitting beside you right now.”
In other words, their future interviews have already begun, Nappi said.
He told new students to surround themselves with great people who support and challenge them – who are great resources in the future.
“I urge you to cultivate connections and surround yourself with individuals who inspire you, like your classmates, mentors or colleagues,” Nappi said. “The relationships you foster now will shape your future support network and will provide a wealth of guidance and inspiration as you navigate the complexities of the healthcare landscape.”
Nappi said each pharmacist must be intentional and driven by a purpose.
“Don’t cheat yourself or your patients,” he said. “Do this job with a purpose and you’ll enjoy it for years ahead with endless possibilities.”
Serving patients with expert care and compassion is also essential, Nappi added.
“You only ever regret not being compassionate,” he said. “There is a difference you can make in somebody’s day just by choosing to be kind. Remember, your certifications and accolades pale in comparison to the depth of your empathy. Take pride in who you are and in your training. Four years from now, you’ll be equipped with the ability to synthesize information and make calculations that are incredibly valuable to the healthcare team.”
Members of the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy Class of 2027 are:
- Kassidy Elizabeth Beard
- Samantha Rochester Bretz
- Isabella Elena Chart
- Emma Grace Farmer
- MariCate Springs Ford
- Rachel Ann Grizzel
- Raeisha Nicole McDonald
- Peter Fouad Mikhail
- Faith Naomi O’Neal
- Caitlin Marie Parrott
- Tanvi Vijay Patel
- Olivia Beverly Schirra