Two important milestones were reached with the 2019 graduating class of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy: the first class of students to matriculate through all four years of the new entry-level Pharm.D. curriculum graduated, as did the final class of Working Professional Pharm.D. students.
The 225 entry-level Pharm.D. program graduates became known as “The Trailblazers,” in adapting to the new team-based learning curriculum the college introduced in 2015. The innovative curriculum prepares pharmacists to be health care leaders — while embracing new ideas for teaching and empowering graduates to be lifelong learners.
The final Working Professional Pharm.D., or WPPD, class featured 89 graduates. Established in 1994, UF’s WPPD program was the largest program of this type in the United States, wherein individuals with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy could advance their career by receiving a Pharm.D. degree after a rigorous three-year, part-time curriculum. A total of 2,883 students graduate from the WPPD program during its 25-year existence.
Theresa Tolle, the owner of Bay Street Pharmacy in Sebastian, Florida, received the 2019 UF College of Pharmacy Outstanding Pharmacy Alumnus Award and served as the commencement speaker. Tolle, who received her B.S. in Pharmacy from the college in 1988, advised graduates to never do four things.
- Never forget: There’s an important reason for deciding to pursue a degree in pharmacy.
- Never stop caring: Pharmacy is more than a profession, it’s a calling.
- Never say never: It’s important to cultivate relationships and open yourself to new experiences.
- Never give up: Though pharmacy school is tough, there may yet be more difficult trials ahead, but pharmacists have the ability to impact many lives.
Dean and Distinguished Professor Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., conferred two prestigious awards at commencement. Rachel Shaddock, Pharm.D., received the David W. Ramsaur Award for being the highest academic performer in her class. Not only did she maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout the rigorous curriculum, Shaddock also served as vice president of the Rho Chi Honor Society and participated in the National Community Pharmacist Association, among other involvements.
The Perry A. Foote Award went to Ashlan Kunz Coyne, Pharm.D., for her distinguished scholarship, leadership and service. Kunz Coyne also served as the student representative at commencement for the Jacksonville campus, alongside Meredith Diamond, Pharm.D., for the Gainesville campus and David Garrett Smith, Pharm.D., for the Orlando campus.
Before the Pharm.D. commencement ceremony, four Ph.D. students and 65 master’s students received their UF degrees on May 3-4.
View the commencement photo album.