ACP Confers Doctor of Pharmacy Degrees on Class of 2023

OAKWOOD, VA (MAY 6, 2023) – Members of the Appalachian College of Pharmacy (ACP) Class of 2023 received their Doctor of Pharmacy degrees Saturday during the college’s sixteenth commencement exercises.

Third generation Pharmacist and Kentucky Board of Pharmacy Past President Joel Thornbury, of Pikeville, KY, was the commencement speaker and Ayomipo Emmanuel Adeyemo, of Lagos, Nigeria, a member of the ACP graduating class of 2023 and Student Government Association president for the Class of 2023, was selected by his peers as the class speaker.

ACP President Mickey McGlothlin welcomed all to the ceremonies held inside the ACP gymnasium, noting the graduates in the Class of 2023 join the ranks of 988 ACP graduates practicing pharmacy throughout the United States. He challenged members of the Class of 2023, 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. McGlothlin noted ACP holds the distinction of having more than 95 percent of its graduates take and pass the NAPLEX exam and in the past has held the highest pass rate of any accelerated pharmacy program in the U.S.

“Be the best pharmacist you can be,” McGlothlin told the graduates. “Always seek that first and foremost and I hope you remain students of pharmacy for life,” he added, stressing the importance of continuing education in an ever-evolving profession.

McGlothlin noted ACP is proud to be the pharmacy component of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine through its affiliation with VCOM.

“Each of you worked hard to obtain your Doctor of Pharmacy degree and we are proud of your accomplishments and will follow your progress with vested interest,” he added.

ACP Provost and Dean Susan Mayhew introduced Thornbury, noting he holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy where he graduated in 1992; an AAS in Chemistry, Summa Cum Laude, from Southwest Virginia Community College; a certificate from the Utah School of Alcohol and Substance Abuse; as well as a number of Kentucky Board of Pharmacy approved protocols and trainings.

Thornbury, a native of Grundy, Va., owns and operates a chain of independent pharmacies in Eastern Kentucky and Southwest Virginia with his older brother; and has affiliated ownership responsibilities with pharmacies in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Members of his family were in attendance to hear his remarks and he acknowledged their presence and the support they have given him through the years.

Professionally, Thornbury has been involved in advocating for the profession of pharmacy in both the political and regulatory arenas, having led and diligently worked to see state statutes, regulations and policies instituted on behalf of the pharmacy profession and the people of Kentucky where he lives.

“You did it!” Thornbury told the graduates during his remarks Saturday. “Today, you birth a degree. You’re already a professional. The degree you are earning today is yours – you earned it, now own it. Take it and nurture it. It’s your chosen path in life and the culmination of the path you have been on the  last three years.”

He urged graduates to remember that ACP is always there for them as a resource.

“This is your degree,” he said. “Feel empowered. Love what you do and do what you love and it’s not a job, it’s a passion. Today is only the beginning. Be prepared to change and evolve.”

He encouraged them to invest in themselves, their profession, families and community.

“Tomorrow,” he concluded, “holds everything you want to strive for and to achieve.”

Mayhew also introduced Adeyemo, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marine biology from the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 2011. He came to the United States to study in 2014 and earned his master’s degree from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Ill., in 2016 as he continued to work In 2018, he joined the United States Army and continues to serve in the US. Army Reserves. Three years ago, he enrolled at ACP to begin pursuit of his Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

He thanked his classmates for choosing him to speak and recalled the journey he and his classmates made, navigating through the COVID pandemic.

“We began amidst much uncertainty, but fast forward three years and we are ready to receive our degrees,” he said.

He spoke of the importance of having what he called “the three G’s” – grit, growth and glow.”

Grit. he said, was better defined as perseverance with a touch of forgiveness; growth, an acknowledgment that now is only the beginning, the foundation and that it was up to each of his fellow graduates to continue to grow in the profession; and glow, which he defined as essential to achieve a good work-life balance.

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

“I am thankful to have the opportunity to share this professional milestone with each of you,” she noted as she thanked them for choosing ACP and urged them to come back often. “I am confident you will become excellent pharmacists, role models, community leaders, teachers and preceptors.”

She urged them to enjoy this special time to celebrate and to remember the friendships forged in pharmacy school are life-long.

After the presentation of degrees and hooding ceremony concluded, Mayhew administered the Oath of the Pharmacist to members of the graduating class, who promised to devote themselves to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy.

Members of the graduating class who earned their Doctor of Pharmacy degrees Saturday were as follows:

Ayomipo Emmanuel Adeyemo, of Lagos, Nigeria; Shelomith Eguono Akpoghenobor, of Richmond;  Lauren Rene Bashlor, of Waynesboro; Dylan Scott Brookman, of Princeton, WV;  Ashleigh Kaitlyn Bryant, of Hazard, KY; Briana Lashun Burkes, of Lakeview, AK.; Micah Alexander Chapman, of Taylorsville, NC; Kristen Beth Coleman, of Fords Branch, KY; Alexa Jade Conn, of Sharpsburg, KY; Shawnee Mirria Cress, of Gordon, KY; Julia Renea Deel, of Haysi; Logan R. Ferency-Viars, of Waynesboro; Anas Noralden Gabbar, of Dearborn, MI; Irisdanay Garcia, of Perth Amboy, NJ; Trevor Kent Hartman, of Liberty, IN; Amber Lynn Hartwell, of Lashmeet, WV; Cody Terrell Howard, of Dione, KY; Alyssa Danielle Hunt, of Panther, WV; Afrien Jahan Islam, of Chittagong, Bangladesh; Laya Karerakattil, of Mesa, AZ; Lakyn Taylor Lambert, of Coalwood, WV; Danika Michale Lee, of Bristol; and Megan Marie Little, of Hueysville, KY.

Brandon James Matheson, Kings Mountain, NC; Divine Kaba Mbah, of Clayton, NC; Brittany McClanahan, of Vansant; Brianna Nicole Meadows, of Pikeville, KY; Mohammed M. Mhawesh, of Houston, TX; Kaung Htet Naing, of Yangon, Myanmar; Matt W. Neace, of Belfry, KY; Eugine Nkemaka Ngufua, of Oakwood; Deborah Truong Nguyen, of Anaheim, CA; Colby Jordan Osborne, of Richlands; Ginny Subhash Patel, of Lexington, TN; Kylea Madison Pinion, of Kimper, KY; Achea Quinta, of Atlanta, GA; Aaron Michael Ratliff, of Pikeville, KY; Bailey Catherine Ratliff, of Marion; Jonathan Mark Ritchie, of Honaker; Chandler Quade Rowe, of Virgie, KY; Amber Nichole Ruiz, of Axton; Mark Shawnah, of West Bloomfield, MI; John Houston Spears, of Pikeville, KY; Michael Devon Stewart, of Pikeville, KY; Mackynzie Alexis Taylor, of Pikeville, KY; Saman Vafaie, of St. Louis, MO; Alberesheio Bernard West, of Panama City Beach, FL; and Andrea Morgan Yates, of Bland also earned 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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