ACP Welcomes 58 First Year Pharmacy Students

Oakwood, VA (August 17, 2021) – Fifty-eight students arrived on the campus of the Appalachian College of Pharmacy last Wednesday to begin their studies leading to a doctor of pharmacy degree in Virginia’s only three-year doctor of pharmacy program.

Students in the incoming class of 2024 represent 15 different states including Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Maryland, California, Ohio, Florida, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Colorado. The Class of 2024 also includes one student from Washington, D.C. and one from Puerto Rico. Twenty-eight hold bachelor’s degrees and one holds a master’s degree.

ACP’s traditional white coat ceremony, signifying first year class members’ entrance into the profession of pharmacy, was held on the ACP campus lawn in front of McGlothlin Hall on Friday. ACP President Mickey McGlothlin welcomed students and their family members and friends to the ceremony. ACP Dean Susan Mayhew introduced Dr. Randy Mullins, a long-standing faculty member at ACP, who is chairman of the pharmaceutical sciences department, as the speaker for the ceremony which concluded with a reading of the names of the members of the ACP Class of 2024 and the administration of the pharmacist’s oath.

Mullins spoke to students about the future of medicine, pharmacy and healthcare.

“Pharmacy’s future is exciting and yet challenging at the same time,” Mullins said. “In your career, you’ll see things I only dreamed of years ago. Use of technology will continue to grow and expand. I can only imagine what the future will look like with all the technology and the rapid pace.”

Mullins noted that despite all the changes technology brings, there are things that hold true across time. Chief among those, he said is professionalism and in the case of students at ACP, he expanded that definition to include setting themselves apart, representing themselves, their families, ACP and the profession of pharmacy.

“You should always hold yourself to a high standard,” Mullins said. “Apply the knowledge, experience and skills you learn at ACP to help your patients; keep current; be involved in your profession; advocate for change to make things better; and move the profession forward. It means having a passion for what you do. The old saying goes, ‘if you truly love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.’”

Mullins urged students to always communicate professionally and he noted that pharmacists can be facilitators and advocate for patients to help them understand the various exams and tests ordered for them and also help them communicate with all their practitioners to help move things in the right direction.

“Speak plainly, clearly and on a level the patient can understand and use the right terminology,” Mullins said. “Compassion, if you truly care about those around you, especially your patients, will show up in their care. We are all part of the human race. We all want the same things, basically to be respected and to be recognized. Treat others the way you want to be treated – the Golden Rule.

“My father put it this way,” he continued, “‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’”

He told students to remember they can learn something from everyone.

“Everybody has something to share,” he said. “I challenge you to listen.”

He told students and their families that what makes ACP different and unique is that “at ACP, we are family.”

During opening day activities last Wednesday, Mayhew told students that in making the decision to attend ACP, they had chosen well.

Mayhew told students the fact that they were sitting in an ACP classroom was evidence, “we believe you will be successful in this program.” She added, “you are responsible for learning and you control the degree of success you have in this program.”

The keys to that success, she said, are good study habits, time management and balance.

“Consider this program your full-time job for the next three years,” she said, adding that developing good study habits from the start and being disciplined in maintaining those make all the difference.

Mayhew noted the three-year program at ACP is fast-paced, but she added, “everyone here has the ability to be successful, or you would not be sitting here today.”

Throughout the week, students took part in orientation sessions focusing on a variety of topics — from curriculum, experiential education and technology policies, computer usage and software training to student services, money management, community service and campus safety.

The Appalachian College of Pharmacy is the only three-year Doctor of Pharmacy program in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Founded in 2003, the college accepted its first students in 2005. It is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Its mission is to cultivate a learning community committed to education, community outreach and the professional development of pharmacists. Its graduate pharmacists are now practicing throughout the United States.

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