Published on January 24, 2023 by Frank Ruggiero  
McWhorter School of Pharmacy Dean Michael Crouch speaks during the annual State of the School Address.

McWhorter School of Pharmacy’s theme for 2023 will be administered in three doses: faith, fellowship and pharmacy.

At Samford Pharmacy’s annual State of the School Address, Dean Michael Crouch defined those tenets as “the why, how and what we do,” while describing the state of the school as “strong.”

“The school is strong because of you, our people, and it is strong because of our shared purpose,” Crouch told the crowd of more than 325 attendees gathered at Reid Chapel on Friday, Jan. 13, including pharmacy students, faculty and staff.

First held in 2015, the dean’s annual State of the School Address is intended to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year and share a vision for the year to come.

Such accomplishments include celebrating students’ successes, such as an increase in graduate employment. In 2022, the school saw the number of graduates employed within six months (or in postgraduate education or residency) increase from 90% to 94%.

Furthermore, the school’s 2022 residency match results numbered 52 graduates in 16 states, placing McWhorter in the top third of pharmacy schools nationwide.

Throughout 2022, the school implemented its novel “Practice and Team Ready” curriculum, designed to engage students in an active learning environment, empowering them to be strong critical thinkers and helping them become exemplary pharmacists.

The school also unveiled two new Doctor of Pharmacy concentrations in 2022—research and international pharmacy—along with its sixth joint degree, a Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Healthcare Administration dual degree in coordination with the School of Public Health.

This past year also included Samford Pharmacy beginning planning and recruitment for its third pharmacy residency—a postgraduate year two (PGY2) pediatric residency with Children’s of Alabama.

Meanwhile, the school continued to expand its international footprint by adding a new memorandum of understanding with Universitas Pelita Harapan in Jakarta, Indonesia, marking more than a dozen affiliations on five continents.

McWhorter also celebrated the accomplishments of alumni, such as Lea Wolsoncroft ’94, who was named president-elect of the National Community Pharmacists Association, and faculty, including professor Valerie Prince, who served as president-elect of the American Pharmacists Association and will assume the presidency in March.

Crouch took a moment to celebrate the school’s 41 full-time faculty members, who share more than 500 collective years in academia. The 2021-22 academic year saw numerous faculty achievements, including 61 peer-reviewed publications, 45 platform presentations and 58 poster presentations.

“You’re going to have a hard time finding a distinguished pharmacy faculty like this at another institution,” Crouch said.

The school celebrated its 95th anniversary in 2022, with Crouch setting out on the 95 for 95 tour to visit 95 alumni who own or operate pharmacies. Now, as Samford Pharmacy approaches its 100th anniversary, Crouch asked, “What’s next?”

Notably, during the spring semester, the school will start a self-study to ensure it meets Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education standards—an 18-month process. It will culminate with a site visit from the accrediting body in spring 2025, during which the school will also implement the remaining semester of its “Practice and Team Ready” curriculum.

Plans for 2023 also include the construction of an exhibit to recognize the Century Circle, a giving initiative seeking to establish 100 new endowed scholarships in time for the school’s 100th anniversary in 2027. The exhibit will be located within the Department of Pharmacy Practice and recognize those who’ve established Century Circle endowments, as well as those who’ve contributed to the school’s more than 75 current endowments.

“We want to recognize those who have given, and we want to celebrate those who have received,” Crouch said. “As we continue to grow our endowment, it gives us a chance to mitigate the cost of pharmacy school attendance, making it easier for those called to learn and serve at McWhorter School of Pharmacy.”

Crouch closed by emphasizing faith, fellowship and pharmacy as the school’s guiding principles for 2023.

“This is the why, how and what we do,” he said. “Our faith is central to why we serve, and it’s what makes us different. I’m reminded of a quote by (Hans Urs) von Balthasar, who said, ‘What you are is God’s gift to you. What you become is your gift to God.’”

“The how is through fellowship. Every person in this room is vital to our success… and then there’s what we do. Pharmacy uniquely binds us together, and it just happens to be the platform we use to make a difference in our communities and the patients we serve.”

To learn more about Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy, visit here. For McWhorter School of Pharmacy’s 2021-22 Year in Review, visit here.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.