ACP Confers Doctor of Pharmacy Degree on 66-Member Class of 2022

OAKWOOD, VA (MAY 7, 2022) – Sixty-six members of the Appalachian College of Pharmacy (ACP) Class of 2022 received their Doctor of Pharmacy degrees Saturday during the college’s fifteenth commencement exercises.

K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. President and CEO Steve Smith was the commencement speaker and Matthew Stephen Bates, of Lynchburg, Va., a member of the ACP graduating class of 2022, was selected by his peers as the class speaker.

ACP President Mickey McGlothlin welcomed all to the ceremonies held outside under a tent set up in front of McGlothlin Hall, noting the graduates in the Class of 2022 join the ranks of 922 ACP graduates practicing pharmacy throughout the United States and he challenged members of the Class of 2022 as they prepare to take the NAPLEX exam to become licensed pharmacists to meet or exceed the pass rates of prior ACP students who have graduated. He noted more than 95 percent of ACP graduates have passed the NAPLEX and that in years past, ACP first time pass rates have seen the college record the highest pass rate of any college of pharmacy in the state of Virginia and the second highest pass rate of all three-year pharmacy programs throughout the United States.

“I challenge the Class of 2022 to meet or exceed these pass rates,” McGlothlin said. “I know they have the ability to do it and more importantly, I challenge each member of the class to be the best pharmacist he or she can be and to always seek first and foremost to serve the healthcare needs of their fellow man.”

He noted ACP celebrated a significant milestone last year as it became a member of the consortium of healthcare institutions with the Edward Via College of Medicine (VCOM) under the parental guidance of the Harvey W. Peters Research Foundation.

“We thank VCOM and the foundation for their continuing support and assistance to this college,” McGlothlin said.

McGlothlin also recognized Sen. Todd Pillion, who was in attendance at Saturday’s graduation exercises, noting that when redistricting in Virginia is complete, Pillion will be the senator representing this area.

He concluded his remarks, urging members of the Class of 2022 to be students of pharmacy for life and to be engaged in advancing the practice of pharmacy and the health and well-being of mankind.

Smith, who is president and chief executive officer of K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., which operates Food City and Super Dollar Food Center stores throughout a five-state area, (including 113 pharmacies and 114 fuel/convenience stores), was introduced by ACP Dean Susan Mayhew.

Smith called on the Class of 2022 to remain flexible and adaptable to change, because in the end, he said, that is what gets the job done. He also urged them to make accountability a priority in their lives and to find mentors in their field, to continue learning and to challenge themselves to continue to grow.

Communication, he added, will continue to be key in their lives as they communicate with patients on different levels.

“Every patient deserves your best,” Smith said. “Always be caring, patient and open-minded.”

He told them professionalism is key and that in addition to “talking the talk, it was important to walk the walk” which he added earns respect.

Lastly, he told them that leadership, leading from the front to achieve goals; advocacy, to be a spokesperson for their profession; and generosity, giving back to the communities they serve, remain as important factors in success.

“I hope each one of you take time to reflect on these beautiful mountains and the wonderful people that make up Grundy and Buchanan County,” Smith said. “I came from here; this is a place I was proud to call my home for 22 years of my life and a place I still consider to be my home. I hope that wherever you choose to call home in the future, you carry a part of Buchanan County’s rich history with you.”

Bates, who earned his undergraduate degree from Liberty University, served as president of his class all three years and was a member of Phi Lambda Sigma and Kappa Psi during his time at ACP. He received the Dean’s Award this year and was a two-time winner of the ACP Outstanding Leadership award. He is currently an intern at Walgreens in Bristol and plans to continue to work there after graduation.

He spoke about his passion for personal development and urged his classmates to always be working on themselves to be the best they can and to surround themselves with positive, like-minded people. He reminded them of the 10x principle – to set the bar 10 times higher than their initial goals so that even if they fall short, they will have achieved more; and to always have the mentality of “one more” since he said one more adds up to pushing oneself farther.

“This class has been through a lot, but I know we can get through anything life throws as us,” he said. “Keep pushing yourself to continue to grow.”

In a morning message to graduates prior to the ceremonies, Dean Susan Mayhew offered her congratulations on a job well done to the graduating class.

“I am thankful to have the opportunity to share this professional milestone with each of you,” Mayhew said. “I am confident that you will be excellent pharmacists, role models, community leaders, teachers, and preceptors.”

She challenged each of the graduates “to learn something new every day, treat your patients with kindness and compassion and visualize what success looks like for you and then be brave enough to step outside of your comfort zone to achieve it.”

Members of the graduating class who earned their doctor of pharmacy degrees Saturday were as follows:

Hanaa Hassan.A Abdelati, of Alexandria, Va.; Austin Cruz Adams, of Whitesburg, Ky; Cameron James Adams, of Isom, Ky.; Funmilola Alana Adejumo, of Hanover, Md.; Gifty Adusei, of Bronx, NY; Olakunle Akintunde Akinola, of Hyattsville, Md.; Joshua Garven Alderman, of Christiansburg, Va.; Housni Alkhalil, of Wayne, NJ; Joshua Paul Anderson, of Cross Junction, Va.; Roger T. Ata, of Bristol, Tenn.; Brent Cameron Bailey, of Copper Hill, Va.; Cortney Dawn Ball, of Princeton, WV; Matthew Stephen Bates, of Lynchburg, Va.; Cody Matthew Blackburn, of Ransom, Ky.; Lydarius DeQuan Brewer, of Chattanooga, Tenn.;  Dylan Michael Caudill, of  Jeremiah, Ky.; Susan L. Chiawah, of Charlotte, NC;  Ruth Biak Cer Cin, of Grand Prairie, Texas; Rebecca Brittany Clegg, of Ballston Spa, New York; Alexis LeighAnn Coleman, of Pikeville, Ky.; Blakelee Suzanne Coleman, of Haysi, Va.; Chelsey Noel Couch, of Garrett, Ky;  Rachel Elizabeth Davis, of Ashland, Ky.; and Thuc Uyen Thi Do-Balster, of Berlin, Md.

Landon Elliot Feuchtenberger, of Bluefield, WV;  Kenna Jade Fields, of Haysi, Va.; Makayla Elaine Funk, of Coeburn, Va.;  Allen James Garcia, of College Park, Md.; Tyler Glen Goins, of Bluefield, WV;  Melanie Lindsey Hagy, of Trevor, Wisc.;  Haleigh Elise Harris, of Virgie, Ky.;  Mackenza Jade Harris, of Bee, Va.; Maggie Elizabeth Haynes, of Bristol, Va.;  Alexis  Louise Inman, of Hammond, La.; Aaron Jeffery Justice, of Hardy, Ky.; Machaela Easton Keene, of Richlands, Va.;  Robert Christopher Kudlinski, of Chesapeake, Va.;  Chelsea Kaitlyn Kyle, of Vansant, Va.;  Walter Aaron Cody Lester, of Richlands, Va.;  Zackary Allen Lester, of Hurley, Va.;  Grace Kathryn Marshall, of Grundy, Va.;  Ken Kawashima Marshall, of Charlottesville, Va.; Jared Scott Masters, of Belfry, Ky.; Sally-Kella Ndeuh Mbah, of Randallstown, Md.; Danielle Katherine McCartney, of Harlan, Ky.; and Mahdieh Moslemi, of Salem, Va., also received their doctor of pharmacy degrees.

Chancelin Atabong Nkengbeza, of Glenarden, Md.;  Dalton Pierce Oliver, of Sherman, Texas;  Tonya Lee Parsons, of Virgie, Ky.; Gabrielle Viers Perry, of Richlands, Va.;  Melissa Rachelle Plowman, of Meadowview, Va.;  Jacob Michael Potter, of Elkhorn City, Ky.;  Courtney Chantal Pruitt, of Paintsville, Ky.;  Waylon Rex Reynolds, of Abingdon, Va.; Farrah Marielle Rose, of Caretta, WV;  Ali Saleh, of Richmond, Va.;  Alexis Rae Schoch, of Murrells Inlet, SC; Haley Elizabeth Stanley, of Pound, Va.; Dakota Stevens, of Vansant, Va.; Benjamin Ethan Street, of Tazewell, Va.; Alexandria Lea Sturgell , of Bluefield, Va; Jenna Brooke Tate, of Seaford, DE;  Kristin Michelle Thompson, of Lynchburg     , Va.;  Alexis Emily Thurston, of Tazewell, Va; Priyal    Vyas, of Old Bridge, NJ;  and Katherine Faye Olivia Wagers, of Kingsport, Tenn., also received their doctor of pharmacy degrees.

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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