Class of 2027 embraces the journey to pharmacy school

The three-hour drive from Melbourne to Gainesville, Florida gave first-year student pharmacist Shane Potter a lot of time to reflect on his journey to the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. During his trek to the first day of Integration Week activities, his mind could not help but wander between the setbacks and triumphs that brought him to this moment in time.

Shane Potter
Shane Potter

“It was a surreal drive to Gainesville,” Potter said. “It really hit me that I’m going to be a UF College of Pharmacy student. I’m going to be a Gator at a Top 5 ranked pharmacy school.”

For eight years, Potter attended Eastern Florida State College near his hometown of Melbourne. He worked multiple jobs in the construction, retail and music industries to save enough money to take the prerequisite classes required for pharmacy school. He always knew he wanted to work in health care, but it wasn’t until he accepted a technician job at a local pharmacy that he realized his calling.

“When I started working in community pharmacy, I would ask the pharmacists what school they went to, and they all said UF,” Potter said. “I thought there has to be something special about this place.”

Potter is one of 227 first-year student pharmacists who spent the week of Aug. 14-18 acclimating to their new surroundings at the UF College of Pharmacy. Students from the Gainesville, Jacksonville and Orlando campuses attended the first day of Integration Week together at UF’s flagship campus. The remainder of the week was spent at their respective campuses — bonding with their classmates, learning about the curriculum and preparing for the journey ahead.

Jahanvi Patel
Jahanvi Patel

“After just a few days together, I already feel connected to my classmates,” said Jahanvi Patel, a first-year student pharmacist from India.

Patel moved to Florida four years ago and earned a bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology from the University of South Florida. Moving away from family and adjusting to the American culture has presented its challenges, which is why she is seeking a strong support network in pharmacy school.

“I can’t wait to learn the hands-on activities — how to calculate dosages and give vaccines,” Patel said. “But more than anything I’m looking forward to making lifelong friendships here.”

Dean Peter Swaan, Ph.D., M.Pharm., was among the college’s leadership and faculty who welcomed the class of 2027 to UF. In his address to the new pharmacy students, he highlighted the college’s centennial year celebrations taking place this year as well as its outstanding clinical services, world-renowned research programs and exceptional residency match rate.

“UF has a great legacy of pharmacy education,” Swaan said. “We are excited you are here and proud to call you Gator pharmacists.”

To view photos from Integration Week, visit:

Get to know the Class of 2027

Class of 2027


Graduate program welcomes 30 new students in fall cohort

A new cohort of 30 graduate students arrived at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy for orientation on Aug. 10. The fall class featured 26 students pursuing a Ph.D. and four students enrolled in the residential master’s program. The new graduate students began their studies the week of Aug. 21 at the Gainesville and Orlando campuses.

Dean Peter Swaan, Ph.D., M.Pharm., and Jatinder Lamba, Ph.D., M.Sc., associate dean for research and graduate education in the UF College of Pharmacy, were among the college’s leadership who welcomed the new students to UF during orientation. They spoke about the latest American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy research rankings, which revealed the UF College of Pharmacy ranked No. 3 nationally in total research funding. They also encouraged the new cohort to take advantage of the many research opportunities available at UF.

Graduate Program Fall 2023 cohort