Class of 2020 arrives at the UF College of Pharmacy

The path toward a pharmacy degree began with orientation week for 275 first-year pharmacy students at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. Members of the class of 2020 arrived in Gainesville on Aug. 15 to orient themselves with the college, its faculty and staff, and the classmates they will spend the next four years with on their journey toward a Pharm.D. degree. The class features 252 students from Florida, along with 23 out-of-state students from 11 states and two countries.

Students in the class of 2020 spent the first two days of orientation week together in Gainesville before traveling to their respective campuses in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Orlando for the final two days of orientation. College of Pharmacy Dean Julie Johnson and members of the faculty welcomed the incoming class and applauded the students’ decision to attend one of the top 10 nationally ranked pharmacy colleges. Faculty teaching first-year classes were introduced and upperclassman were on hand to answer any questions. A number of team-building exercises helped students get to know their classmates better and understand how team-based learning activities play a critical role in UF’s Pharm.D. curriculum.

“The team-based learning curriculum is why I chose to come to UF College of Pharmacy,” said Rachel Pipkin, a first-year pharmacy student from Orlando. “I work really well in the team setting and like to engage with my classmates in discussion and hear different points of view.”

For Pipkin, orientation week provided the opportunity to settle any nerves and get to know her classmates in small group settings. Meanwhile, other incoming students used social media to connect with classmates prior to arriving on campus.

Patrice Gabriel
Patrice Gabriel, second from right, and some of his classmates in the UF College of Pharmacy class of 2020.

“I committed to UF in Early Decision,” said Patrice Gabriel, an incoming student from Dacula, Ga., a town 35 miles east of Atlanta. “I knew no one in Florida, so I used Facebook to meet people before I arrived in Gainesville.”

As an Early Decision student, Gabriel made his commitment to UF in the fall of 2015. He credits UF’s reputation, and the fact that Florida is a place he wants to work following graduation, as reasons why he committed early.

“Being a top 10 pharmacy school played a major role in my decision to attend UF,” Gabriel said. “I worked hard as an undergrad student to be in the position to go to a top 10 school, and I know that when I graduate employers will expect a certain level of professionalism because I came to UF.”

In her final remarks to the class of 2020, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Shauna Buring, Pharm.D., reminded students that the next journey in their life involves becoming a health care provider and patients will put their health and trust in the pharmacist’s care.

“Believe in the power to make a difference in someone’s life,” Buring said. “I cannot wait to see what you accomplish.”

The College of Pharmacy’s Office of Student Affairs led planning efforts for the orientation week activities, along with support from various other offices and departments in the college.

To view photos from Orientation Week at the College of Pharmacy, visit: