Published on April 18, 2022 by Sarah Waller  
pharmacy pinning student on stage

Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy honored its third-year Doctor of Pharmacy students at its annual professional pinning ceremony on April 8.

“This annual event serves to recognize the transition of third-year pharmacy students from a mostly classroom environment to the final year of our program, which consists of clinicals, or what we call advanced pharmacy practice experiences,” said Michael Crouch, dean of McWhorter School of Pharmacy. “The ceremony’s purpose is to recognize this important milestone, and to emphasize that these students are taking on new responsibilities and a higher level of professionalism.”

Alumnus Sam Blakemore ‘12, the pharmacy manager for Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions located within Children’s of Alabama, provided the event’s keynote address, recalling memories from his own year of advanced pharmacy practice experiences, or APPEs.

“I’ve told you all of these brief, short stories because so much of pharmacy school is studying, taking exams—eat, sleep and then repeat. Somewhere in the midst of all the chaos, we lose a piece of ourselves. So please, take a moment on days like today to pause for reflection. Review your past. Take solace in your present. And look forward to your future,” he said. “Remember that relationships matter.”

He encouraged students to feel proud because they have earned this moment but also to remember that hard days lies ahead. “If you thought school was hard, just wait until you have to deal with the public every day,” he said with a smile. “Rotations will be your taste of your new reality. You will meet families and patients that differ from you ethically, religiously and social economically, but they are still your patients. And you have to figure out ways to take care of them to the best of your ability with a smile, a caring attitude and a good dose of empathy. Stay grounded. Stay humble. And keep a faith in a power higher than man. Because you are only sitting here because God has been faithful to you, so please be faithful to him.”

In addition to the presentation of professional pins to all third-year students, the school presented three significant awards.

Third-year pharmacy student Rowan Rosewarne received the Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Practice Award. This prestigious award is presented by the U.S. Public Health Service to 90 pharmacy students throughout the country who have made significant contributions to public health.

In addition, third-year pharmacy student Wyatt Smith is this year’s recipient of the Cardinal Health Annual Independent Pharmacy Scholarship, the largest scholarship awarded by the school. Established in 2012 by Cardinal Health, the award provides a full-tuition scholarship for the final year of pharmacy school. Will Harris, a pharmacy business consultant for Cardinal Health, was present to make the announcement. 

Finally, associate professor Crystal Deas was this year’s recipient of the Margaret Self Propst Teacher of the Year Award. This is the highest teaching honor given by McWhorter School of Pharmacy, and it is voted upon by students.

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.