ACP Welcomes First Year Pharmacy Students; White Coat Ceremony Held

OAKWOOD, VA (August 12, 2022) – First year pharmacy students  arrived on the campus of the Appalachian College of Pharmacy 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 2025 represent 14 different states including Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Kansas, Illinois, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and California. The Class of 2025 also includes one student from Puerto Rico and one student from British Columbia, Canada; and one student from Dhaka, Bangladesh.

ACP’s traditional white coat ceremony, signifying first year class members’ entrance into the profession of pharmacy, was held in the ACP gymnasium on Friday. ACP President Mickey McGlothlin welcomed students and their family members and friends to the ceremony, noting “this is the day our students formally begin their journey to become pharmacists.”

ACP Dean Susan Mayhew introduced Dr. Richard Nicholas, a long-standing faculty member at ACP, who serves as chairman of the department of pharmacy practice, as the speaker for the ceremony which concluded with first year students receiving their white coats and the administration of the oath of a pharmacist.

Nicholas said it was an honor to represent the faculty and the Class of 2025 as the white coat speaker. He urged students to remember the words of Winston Churchill to “Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

“As you start the rigorous program here at ACP, remember the words of Winston Churchill,” he urged.

He also told them as they go through life, to live boldly, to take risks and to remember to temper their decisions with responsibility and goodness.

“And remember, don’t be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know,’” Nicholas said. “Be teachable. There is no shame in admitting what we don’t know. Don’t always play it safe and remember that debate is good and don’t be afraid to embrace hardship. As it says in James, there is joy in hardship as it builds perseverance. Don’t be afraid to find joy. Be bold.”

The ceremony Friday concluded with McGlothlin acknowledging Walgreens for its sponsorship of the event as he wished each of the students, “the best of success in your journey to deliver the best healthcare to your patients and the best healthcare to mankind.”

Dr. Wade McGeorge, assistant dean, gave the invocation and the benediction and Denise McGeorge sang the National Anthem and provided music for the ceremony. Dr. Marcy Hernick, assistant dean, assisted Mayhew in the presentation of white coats.

During opening day activities 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 we help to facilitate that. 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.”

“We think our students are the best and we will do our best to make you the best pharmacists you can be,” Mayhew said.

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. A student organization and business services fair was held in the gymnasium on Thursday.

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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