Published on April 15, 2021 by Sarah Waller  

On April 9, Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy hosted its first in-person ceremony since the onset of COVID-19, honoring its third-year Doctor of Pharmacy students at its traditional Professional Pinning Ceremony.

With students, faculty and staff in attendance—and family and friends watching via livestream—the annual event recognized members of the Class of 2022 as they prepare to make the transition from a predominately classroom environment to advanced pharmacy practice experiences.

Crystal Deas, associate professor and advisor for the Class of 2022, provided the ceremony’s keynote address. In her remarks, Deas took the students down memory lane, recalling a class meeting in April 2020, weeks after courses were moved to online instruction.

“I shared how I empathized with your experience because during my own P2 year, I was in pharmacy school in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. My heart went out to you because I knew the emotions you may have felt when you realized that your goals and dreams might be altered based upon something completely out of anyone’s control,” she said.

“But if we fast forward to today, I think it’s safe to say, we have learned a lot from this experience. We’ve been forced to face the reality that life and the world is ever-changing, and we have learned to quickly adapt and adjust to meet the demands of life. You all have overcome many challenges, and you are now facing an exciting new change, with the transition from classroom-based learning to learning by doing in clinical rotations.”

As students prepare for the year of come, Deas reminded them that there is no room for complacency. “I challenge you to always seek to learn and refine your skills. Push yourself beyond your comfortable zone. And remember, your work reflects you, so make yourself stand out.”

In addition to these remarks and the presentation of pins, two awards were presented. Third-year pharmacy student Lucy Rinehuls was named this year’s recipient of the Cardinal Health Annual Independent Pharmacy Scholarship, the largest scholarship awarded by the school. Established in 2012 by Cardinal Health, the award provides a full-tuition scholarship for the final year of pharmacy school.

In addition, professor Jeff Kyle was named this year’s recipient of the Margaret Self Propst Teacher of the Year Award. This is the highest teaching honor given by McWhorter School of Pharmacy.

Watch the Ceremony