Centennial class celebrated at UF College of Pharmacy commencement ceremony

The University of Florida College of Pharmacy celebrated a historic milestone on May 13, as it held its centennial class commencement ceremony.

The ceremony began with the recognition of John E. Murphy, Pharm.D., ’76 and ’79, a professor emeritus of pharmacy practice and science at the R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy at the University of Arizona, who received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Murphy worked nearly four decades in academic pharmacy. Now, semi-retired, he feels deeply honored to receive this recognition.

“It’s humbling to be recognized during the 100th anniversary of the beginnings of this exemplary college,” Murphy said.

Giving the commencement address, Murphy encouraged the new pharmacists to work hard, persist, go to the right places, be active, seek mentors, be appreciative and pay it forward. 

“Everyone benefits from encouragement, so pay it forward and become a special mentor to someone else,” Murphy said. “The payback will exceed the investment.”

The ceremony included recognition of the D.W. Ramsaur and Perry A. Foote student awards, celebrating individuals who had demonstrated academic excellence and dedication throughout their time at the college. Megan Backus, Pharm.D., and Savannah Nelson, Pharm.D., received the Ramsaur award, while Julie Al-Bahou, Pharm.D., was the Foote award winner.

Following the awards, the much-anticipated moment arrived — the hooding of the new 236 Pharm.D. graduates. Each graduate walked across the stage, one by one, their smiles shining brightly, as faculty members carefully placed the traditional hoods over their shoulders, signifying their transition from students to health care professionals.

Jacksonville student, Lucy Gloe, Pharm.D., gave the senior class address. Gloe acknowledged the diversity within the graduating class and commended their dedication and perseverance throughout their four years.

Lucy Gloe delivering the class address.

She emphasized that the degree they received was a testament to their hard work and urged the new pharmacists to reflect upon the connections they have established during their academic journey.

“Today is not just a day to celebrate our accomplishments but also a time to show gratitude for all the guidance and support shown to us. We may not know what the future holds, but one thing is for certain – it is always great to be a Florida Gator,” Gloe said.

The graduating class of 2023 leaves behind a cherished legacy, celebrating a century of excellence in pharmacy education.

Also recognized as members of the UF College of Pharmacy’s class of 2023 were four Ph.D. and 131 Master of Science in Pharmacy graduates. Their degrees were conferred at university-wide ceremonies on May 4 and 5.