MIPA Donates $100,000 for Pharmacy School Renovations

Gift to support new skills laboratory for students

Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association board of directors

Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association board of directors

OXFORD, Miss. – The Mississippi Independent Pharmacies Association has pledged $100,000 to support the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Faser Capital Initiative.

The initiative supports the most recent renovation of Faser Hall, one of the pharmacy school’s main buildings. A state-of-the-art skills laboratory for students is among the primary upgrades.

“The generosity of MIPA’s board of directors just leaves me speechless,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “Their gift is a strong statement of their support for this renovation project. We are extremely thankful to the board and all MIPA members.”

MIPA serves to provide a unified voice for independent pharmacists in public-policy discussions. Formed in 2002, the association promotes independent, community pharmacies at state and national levels.

The organization’s members were eager to give back to the school, said Robert Dozier, MIPA executive director.

“We felt like we needed to give back to an institution that has given us so much,” Dozier said. “Our members feel very strongly about Ole Miss and the pharmacy school – they want to help the school and its students in any way they can.”

Many board members said that the pharmacy school has greatly influenced their lives.

“Our degrees at Ole Miss have provided us an excellent opportunity to make a good living and take our profession to another level,” said Brent Smith, MIPA board member and owner of Chaney’s Pharmacy in Oxford. “We looked at this opportunity as an investment in our profession. MIPA greatly appreciates the efforts of Dean Allen in his interest and outreach to independent pharmacy.”

Jerry Morgan, MIPA board member and owner of Okolona Drug Co., said he agrees.

“The School of Pharmacy gave us an opportunity to get out into the retail world and attain the results that we have,” Morgan said. “Pharmacy has been good to all of us on the board of MIPA – we’ve done well in our careers.”

Morgan said he is proud of the relationship between MIPA and the school. Bailey Melton, MIPA board chairman and pharmacist at Ashland Drug, echoed the sentiment.

“We appreciate the support that we get from the school,” Melton said. “We hope to continue a strong working relationship in the future.”

Dozier pointed to the school’s leadership as motivation for the organization’s support.

“We are very excited about Dean Allen and the work he has done since he has been onboard,” Dozier said. “They feel confident in his ability and leadership.”

To join MIPA in making a gift, send a check with Faser Capital Initiative noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655. For more information, contact development director Raina McClure at rmcclure@olemiss.edu.

Award Created for Environmental Toxicology Students

Recognition named in honor of influential former faculty member

Kristine Willett (left), William Benson and David D. Allen

Kristine Willett (left), William Benson and David D. Allen

OXFORD, Miss. – To honor a former faculty member and environmental toxicology research leader, the School of Pharmacy has created the William H. Benson Distinguished Graduate Student Award.

“I was honestly in disbelief when I first learned of the plans for the award,” said Benson, who served as a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the school for a decade. “I am just incredibly flattered and honored that it would even be considered.”

The award will recognize the most outstanding graduate student in environmental toxicology each year. Recipients will receive a plaque and monetary gift. Kristine Willett, professor of pharmacology, developed the idea for the award after realizing that other graduate programs had similar recognitions.

“Dr. Benson really spearheaded the environmental toxicology research program here at the University of Mississippi,” Willett said. “Many of his former students and mentees are still actively involved with our School of Pharmacy and provide networking opportunities for our current students.”

Benson joined the School of Pharmacy as a faculty member in 1988. He served as director of environmental and community health research at the school’s Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences before leaving in 1999.

The associate director for ecology at the Environmental Protection Agency fondly remembers his time at Ole Miss.

“The beauty of the pharmacy school was our ability to work across departments,” he said. “We worked together in the best interest of our students. It was so easy to work in a multidisciplinary culture because everyone pitched in. It was almost like a family, not a lab.”

Willett said that Benson continues to influence the University of Mississippi, despite being away from campus for nearly 15 years.

“As environmental toxicology-associated faculty members have prepared training grant proposals, Dr. Benson has volunteered his laboratories as internship locations for our students,” she said. “When I teach environmental toxicology, I use slide sets from short courses he has taught. Most importantly, he is always on the lookout for job opportunities for our students. At meetings, he enthusiastically encourages them and introduces them to other experts in the field.”

Benson said he hopes the award will give opportunities to deserving students who are dedicated to improving the state of Mississippi.

“I hope it goes to students who really believe in doing the right thing for the right reason,” he said. “I hope they work toward public, environmental good and that their work is beneficial to the people of Mississippi, while having impact on the nation and the world.”

To contribute to the William H. Benson Distinguished Graduate Student Award, send a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655. For more information, contact development director Raina McClure at rmcclure@olemiss.edu.

Renowned Pharmacognosist to Present Waller Lecture

A. Douglas Kinghorn returns to Ole Miss to discuss collaborative pharmaceutical research

A. Douglas Kinghorn

A. Douglas Kinghorn

OXFORD, Miss. – A. Douglas Kinghorn, professor and Jack L. Beal Chair in Natural Products Chemistry and Pharmacognosy at the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, will deliver the 2014 Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecture at the University of Mississippi.

The lecture, “Pharmacognosy as a Collaborative Pharmaceutical Science,” is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday (Nov. 21) in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The pharmacy school and its Department of BioMolecular Sciences are hosting the free public event.

“I plan to point out in my talk that the discovery of new drugs and other interesting biologically active compounds from organisms such as plants, microbes and marine animals can most effectively be studied by scientists working in collaborative groups,” Kinghorn said. “This field of inquiry has a very promising future.”

Kinghorn received degrees in pharmacy, forensic science and pharmacognosy from the universities of Bradford, Strathclyde and London in the United Kingdom. He performed postdoctoral work at UM and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Kinghorn remembers his time at Ole Miss fondly.

“I worked for Dr. Norman Doorenbos, who at that time (1975) was professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacognosy,” he said. “From a professional perspective, I found my year at Ole Miss to be very valuable, since not only did I learn several new research techniques, but also I was given considerable independence to work on some grayanotoxins from rhododendron species that affect membrane sodium permeability.”

The recipient of numerous professional awards, Kinghorn has published more than 500 research articles, reviews and book chapters. His research interests are on the isolation, characterization and biological evaluation of natural products of higher plants of tropical and temperate origin. He has worked on antimicrobials, botanical dietary supplements, cancer chemopreventive agents, cancer chemotherapeutic agents and noncariogenic sweeteners and sweetness modifiers.

Kinghorn retains strong connections to the university, despite leaving Oxford some 40 years ago. He has recently served with Stephen J. Cutler, chair of the Department of BioMolecular sciences, on an external advisory committee for the Center of Research Excellence in Natural Products Neuroscience. His wife, Helen, will join him on his trip back to Ole Miss.

“We were married on July 17, 1976 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church,” Kinghorn said. “Helen has never been back to Mississippi since we left for Chicago shortly after getting married, so she is very excited to be accompanying me when I will give this special lecture.”

Cutler said he is thrilled that Kinghorn accepted the invitation to present.

“Dr. Kinghorn is a highly distinguished researcher and his lecture will be fitting for our annual recognition of Coy Waller’s great legacy,” Cutler said.

The Coy W. Waller Distinguished Lecture series was established in 2004 to recognize the former Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences director’s contributions to the field of pharmaceutics and to the pharmacy school. Each year, a department within the school hosts the lecture, and lecturers are selected for their contributions to the host department’s discipline.

For more information or assistance related to a disability, contact caseybms@olemiss.edu.

Pharmacy Plans ‘Day of Thanks’ Nov. 14

Donations encouraged through convenient crowdfunding platform

OXFORD, Miss. – As the holiday season approaches, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is planning an online giving day for Friday (Nov. 14).

The Ole Miss Pharmacy Day of Thanks is a 24-hour initiative to raise funds for student, faculty and research support. The focus is on participation rather than raising a specific monetary amount.

“We wanted to give people an easy and convenient way to give back, no matter the size of their gift,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “We’re encouraging all members of the Ole Miss pharmacy family to donate during the Day of Thanks to reflect their support and passion for our amazing school.”

The school will use an online crowdfunding platform to accept donations. The platform was recognized for successfully raising funds to replace Vaught-Hemingway Stadium’s goal posts after the Ole Miss-Alabama game on Oct. 4.

“Crowdfunding is a new and exciting way to reach out to our alumni and friends,” said Raina McClure, the school’s development director. “We are hoping this initiative will create an atmosphere of thankfulness and philanthropic generosity that will support many different critical needs for the School of Pharmacy.”

Donations of any amount are encouraged. Gifts will be unrestricted, which allows the dean to designate them for the school’s most important projects. These funds have supported students, faculty members and recruitment of new faculty.

The event will be publicized on various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and McClure said she anticipates a large number of young alumni and student donors who are active on sites such as these.

“Reaching our participation goal will rely on a strong social media response from our donors,” McClure said. “We hope contributors will use social media to share their excitement. They can recognize a professor or staff member, scientist, student, fellow graduate or an aspect of their pharmacy school experience that had a particular impact on their success.”

Perks will be provided for different levels of giving, which range from VIP tailgate passes to private tours of new facilities at the pharmacy school.

For more information on the initiative, contact McClure at rmcclure@olemiss.edu, or to make a donation, visit https://ignite.olemiss.edu/pharmthanks.

Alumna Reflects on Half-Century Pharmacy Career

Former drugstore owner remembers World War II, Hurricane Camille

Louise Chadwick Lynch

Louise Chadwick Lynch

OXFORD, Miss. – Louise Chadwick Lynch remembers her uncle Cornelius Herlihy’s pharmacy in Waveland as “a mystical place.”

“As a young child, I couldn’t go in the pharmacy itself where the prescriptions were filled,” said Lynch, 91. “I always wondered what was written on that little paper. That piece of paper was so important.”

Lynch soon learned the significance of those pieces of paper. After graduating from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy in 1944, she eventually owned and operated Herlihy’s store for 49 years, becoming a Waveland icon.

Ole Miss was a different place during World War II, when Lynch began pharmacy school. Living on campus, she woke up to morning reveille and heard taps in the evening, she said.

“When the war started, the number of students dropped drastically,” she said. “Empty male dormitories were filled with soldiers who received special training at Ole Miss. We had maybe 18 pharmacy students when I was a freshman, and only two of us were women. By the time I graduated, there were only three males left in our class because of the draft.”

Pharmacy students had a reputation on campus for being especially studious, Lynch said.

“There were no backpacks like today, and students didn’t use cars for travel,” she said. “We had to carry all the pharmacy textbooks we needed for the day because we couldn’t get back to the dormitory for breaks. The books were quite heavy and cumbersome; the hills on campus seemed like mountains when carrying all the books. The curriculum was very tough.”

Tougher still were the effects of the war on campus. The university would often post the names of students who were killed in action, Lynch said. Rationing was frequent, and items such as leather, sugar, gas and rubber tires were scarce.

In 1944, Ole Miss did not hold a graduation ceremony, so Lynch’s diploma arrived by train.

Upon completing pharmacy school, Lynch and her husband, Harry Lynch, who graduated from the pharmacy school in 1941, took over Herlihy’s Waveland Drugstore. Following her uncle’s tradition, the store was a place for prominent locals to discuss the news, the first stop for mothers with their newborns and a place to get an exceptional soda, root beer float, milkshake or Coca-Cola.

“It was the first air-conditioned building in Waveland,” Louise Lynch said. “I had two tables in the back with chairs and a soda fountain for a time. We made all our syrups from scratch. They were special – people still ask about our recipes.”

The Lynches raised seven daughters in an apartment above the drugstore. After Harry Lynch died in 1963, the daughters helped their mom run the store. They stocked shelves, filled coin drink machines, made home deliveries and waited on customers, among other tasks. One daughter, Amy Lynch, said that the customers were “like a big family.”

“We were interested in them, and they were interested in us,” she said. “We probably spent as much time in the drugstore as we did in our home. In fact, the drugstore felt like an extension of our home. The well-being of townspeople and serving customers became an integral part of our lives.

“When we were growing up, our family talked about health and medicine around the dinner table. When my aunt and uncle, who also were pharmacists and drugstore owners in a neighboring community, came to visit on Sundays, the topic of discussion always veered to health, pros and cons of medical treatments, and interactions of medicines. We were very fortunate to be exposed to these conversations.”

Subtle and not-so-subtle changes have ensued since Louise Lynch began her pharmacy career.

“Pharmacy was primarily a male profession when my mother began her career,” Amy Lynch said. “Most women at the time were homemakers. At first, the townspeople looked to my father for assistance, but gradually they realized that a woman pharmacist was as educated and as competent as a male. The war helped people recognize women’s roles in the workforce – a new breed of skilled professionals.”

In the 1940s and ’50s, compounding was an important part of pharmacy, Lynch said.

“It was a very time-consuming task that had to be done with precision,” she said. “The scale and weights were a pharmacist’s most prized possessions since they measured ingredients we used in compounding. It was a very exact science.”

Lynch was the go-to pharmacist for hundreds of patients. She would fill prescriptions at all hours of the night and often on holidays. She helped ease the pain of sea nettle bites, insect stings, infant teething and skin rashes. She offered credit without interest, often not knowing if the account would ever be paid.

Waveland Drug Store weathered a significant storm in 1969, when Hurricane Camille hit the Gulf Coast. Lynch participated in the relief effort by coordinating and distributing medicine brought in by state and federal agencies.

After the hurricane, the building remained, though the only thing left inside was a penny scale too heavy to be washed away. The drugstore gradually reopened, though the soda fountain closed and business slowed because a nearby medical clinic was destroyed.

Lynch decided it was time to close her doors in 1993. That year, the Waveland board of aldermen proclaimed Dec. 31 “Louise C. Lynch Day” to honor her extraordinary service to the community.

“I think pharmacy is a very good profession for a female,” Lynch said. “It was a wonderful time in my life.”

Undergraduates Participate in Advanced Research Internship

Projects centered on computational chemistry

Ashlee Colbert (front row, center) and Michael Concepcion-Santana (front row, right) with Robert Doerksen (back row, far right) and his research group.

Ashlee Colbert (front row, center) and Michael Concepcion-Santana (front row, right) with Robert Doerksen (back row, far right) and his research group.

OXFORD, Miss. – Two students received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this summer to work with Robert Doerksen, associate professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Mississippi, as part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.

Funded by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CHE-1156713, the program is commonly referred to at Ole Miss as the Physical Chemistry Summer Research Program. The program is directed by Nathan Hammer, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and principal investigator on the grant. Its purpose is to recruit students from other universities who are interested in gaining hands-on experience covering a broad range of topics primarily related to chemistry.

Michael Concepción-Santana, a junior at Universidad Metropolitana Recinto de Cupey in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Ashlee Colbert, a junior at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, worked with Doerksen from May to August.

“I love science research and got a chance to try it as an undergraduate, so I am passionate about giving students like Ashlee and Michael a similar experience while they are at the stage of considering various career paths,” Doerksen said.

Concepción-Santana and Colbert assisted Doerksen with a project that uses computational tools to analyze protein-ligand interactions in the presence and absence of water. The research could potentially lead to new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.

“New medicines are needed for the millions who are suffering,” Doerksen said. “It is essential to channel our funding and energy strategically to recruit a new generation of researchers who dare to invest in the deep understanding of the fundamental sciences needed to be able to make significant contributions to rational design of the next generation of drugs.”

A biomedical engineering major, Colbert said she was immediately drawn to the REU program.

“I was initially interested because I wanted to broaden my experience in medicinal chemistry,” she said. “I wanted to try out different areas of research not necessarily focused on engineering.”

Colbert said she plans to continue research in this subject area and will eventually use the experience to explore thesis topics. Concepción-Santana hopes his experience at Ole Miss will help him pursue a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry.

Pharmacy Students Organize Flu Shot Drive

Event is part of national immunization campaign

Last year, pharmacy students immunized more than 305 people on campus.

Last year, pharmacy students immunized more than 300 people on campus.

OXFORD, Miss. – Students in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy are making it easier than ever to get a flu shot on campus.

The local chapter of the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists has coordinated multiple opportunities in September and October for faculty, staff and students to receive their shots. The drive is in conjunction with Operation Immunization, a national awareness campaign sponsored by APhA.

“The purpose of our project is to promote flu vaccinations on campus,” said Kelsey Stephens, president of APhA-ASP. “Last year, Ole Miss pharmacy students immunized more than 305 students and faculty through this event. This year we hope to increase awareness of the drive among students and faculty.”

The organization kicked off the campaign by partnering with the UM Department of Athletics.

“Our students are passionate about promoting the health of their fellow students, as well as the health of our faculty and staff,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “It was fitting that they began their flu shot drive by offering immunizations to student-athletes.”

According to Joseph A. Dikun, a graduate assistant in the Department of Pharmacy Administration and co-adviser of the organization, the flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against the virus.

“The School of Pharmacy and APhA-ASP want to do our part educating and assisting faculty, staff and students on ways to avoid this preventable and costly illness,” Dikun said. “Let’s keep the University of Mississippi a healthy and productive community.”

This year’s event is larger than ever, Dikun said.

“The student leadership of APhA-ASP has gone above and beyond the call of duty to assist Ole Miss in being a healthy campus this flu season,” he said. “The drive has grown from three days to more than two weeks.”

Immunizations will be given:

  • Sept. 23, 1:15-4:15 p.m. at Residential College South
  • Sept. 23, 5-8 p.m. at the Turner Center
  • Sept. 24, 2:30-5:30 p.m. at Ridge North Residence Hall
  • Sept. 29, 2:30-5:30 p.m. at the Lyceum
  • Sept. 30, 10-11:50 a.m. and 1:15-2 p.m. at the Student Health Fair in the Student Union
  • Oct. 1, 8 a.m.-noon in the Circle
  • Oct. 2, 8-9 a.m. in the School of Law
  • Oct. 3, 12:30-4:30 p.m. in the Student Union

The flu shots normally cost faculty, staff and students $25. University employees can bill the cost directly to their insurance by bringing their ID number and insurance card.

Stephens said she hopes this project will allow her fellow students to become more actively involved in increasing the number of people who receive their yearly flu vaccination.

“We also want to teach the public that providing flu shots is only one of the ways pharmacists can impact their patients’ lives,” she said. “I challenge everyone that gets a flu shot to ask about the ways pharmacists can help patients make the best use of their medication and assist them in achieving healthy behaviors.”

For more information about the campaign, contact Stephens at kcstephe15@gmail.com.

UM Enrollment Tops 23,000 Students for Fall Semester

State's flagship university sees improvement in freshman ACT scores, GPAs

Students gather for class outside of Holman and Connor Halls.

Students take advantage of beautiful weather by gathering for class outside Holman and Conner halls.

OXFORD, Miss. – Enrollment at the University of Mississippi surged this fall for the 20th consecutive year, making history with more than 23,000 students across all its campuses for the first time.

Preliminary enrollment figures show a total unduplicated headcount of 23,096, largest in the state. That’s up 805 students from last fall, or 3.6 percent. The figures include the largest freshman class ever for any Mississippi university, a class that sports the highest ACT scores and high school GPAs in Ole Miss history.

“We are very pleased that students and families across Mississippi and throughout America continue to recognize the quality education and outstanding college experience we offer at the University of Mississippi, all at a very competitive price,” Chancellor Dan Jones said. “Our faculty and staff work very hard to deliver the very best academic programs for students, and it’s truly rewarding to see those efforts being acknowledged with extraordinary interest in attending our university.”

The incoming freshman class swelled to 3,814 this fall, up 6.5 percent from 3,582 last year. Student retention also remains near record levels, with preliminary reports showing 84.6 percent of last year’s freshmen have returned to campus this fall, the second-highest retention rate in school history.

“While we’re very happy with the endorsement of so many new freshmen this fall, we’re particularly pleased with the success of the first-year programs we have in place to help freshmen adjust to the rigors of a world-class university,” Jones said. “Many of our students are the first in their families to attend college, so we try to give them all the tools they need to be successful during their time on campus and then as they launch their careers.”

Nearly two-thirds, 61.2 percent, of Ole Miss students are from Mississippi, including students from all the state’s 82 counties. The university also attracts students from across the nation and world. Overall, the student body includes representatives from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 92 foreign countries.

Ole Miss By the Numbers.

Ole Miss by the Numbers.

This year’s freshmen are better prepared for college course work, with an average ACT score of 24.3, compared to an average of 24.1 last fall. Their high school GPA increased too, from 3.46 to 3.49. Both measures have increased every year since 2010.

This year’s freshman class includes 57 class valedictorians, 52 salutatorians, 73 student body presidents, 83 Eagle Scouts and 10 Girl Scouts who achieved the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouting.

“Student leaders are an important component of our campus community,” said Morris Stocks, UM provost. “The University of Mississippi has a long history of attracting top students with demonstrated leadership skills. We have the wonderful opportunity to provide a leadership training ground and to influence these young people for a short but important period of time. We are thrilled that this freshman class is filled with future leaders.”

Minority enrollment totaled 5,488 students, or 23.8 percent. African-American enrollment is 3,285 students, or 14.2 percent of overall enrollment.

The student body also is diverse in age and national origin, ranging from four 15-year-old students to an 87-year-old pursuing a bachelor’s degree in French. Two of the 15-year-olds are dually enrolled at Oxford High School and the university. One of the other students, from Vietnam, has not declared a major, and the other is an international studies major from Lee County. The youngest graduate student is an 18-year-old from China who is pursuing a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences.

The university’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College continues to expand, enrolling 1,210 students this fall, a more than 15 percent increase since fall 2012. The acclaimed Honors College has a record 373 incoming freshmen, with 54 percent being Mississippi residents. This fall’s honors freshmen have an average ACT of 30.2 and an average high school GPA of 3.93. The college’s facility on Sorority Row is undergoing a major expansion and renovation to accommodate its larger student body.

The university’s undergraduate schools of Accountancy, Engineering, Nursing, and Journalism and New Media all enjoyed double-digit growth. The number of undergraduate students in accountancy hit a record of 962, up from 869 last fall, and enrollment in the School of Journalism and New Media topped 1,000 for the first time – 1,044 this fall, compared to 886 last year.

Students travel across campus in between classes.

Students travel across campus between classes.

In the School of Nursing, based on UM’s Medical Center campus in Jackson, enrollment is up by 18.4 percent this fall, from 685 to 811 students. That follows a 28 percent spike last year. The dramatic growth reflects the school’s emphasis on lifelong learning, from the undergraduate level through its doctoral programs, said Marcia Rachel, the school’s associate dean for academics.

“Faculty members in the School of Nursing have worked hard to make sure all programs are current and relevant, and that the classroom and clinical experiences are distinctive, dynamic and engaging,” Rachel said. “We have excellent pass rates on national licensure and certification exams, and our reputation in the community is solid.

“In short, we are committed to our mission – to develop nurse leaders and improve health through excellence in education, research, practice and service.”

After seven consecutive years of growth, the UM School of Engineering ranks as one of the nation’s fastest growing. The undergraduate enrollment, which topped 1,000 for the first time in 2012, is 1,419 this fall, up from 1,285 last year.

“The UM School of Engineering has always been somewhat of a hidden treasure with small classes and personable faculty,” said Alex Cheng, the school’s dean. “But lately, more and more students from across the country and around the world are discovering just what we have to offer: a first-rate engineering education with the added liberal arts element, preparing our students for leadership positions in their careers.”

The numbers of students majoring in mechanical engineering, geology and geological engineering, and chemical engineering have more than doubled in the past five years. During that time, the school renovated many classrooms and laboratories, and moved its administrative offices into the renovated Brevard Hall. The university also added the Center for Manufacturing Excellence to complement and enhance existing engineering programs.

Another area experiencing rapid growth is the university’s professional pharmacy program, which leads to a Pharm.D. degree and professional certification. The number of students pursuing their Pharm.D. after earning a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences grew from 232 in 2013 to 290 this fall.

“The growth in our professional program is directly related to the quality pharmacy education that we provide,” pharmacy Dean David D. Allen said. “We’re proud of our program’s accessibility and affordability for both Mississippi students and out-of-state students. Not only do we have a tuition ranked in the country’s lowest 20 percent, but our graduates also have top scores for the national pharmacy licensure exam. I think students are additionally encouraged by our high job placement rate. Nearly 100 percent of our graduates are employed by the time they receive their degrees.”

To help accommodate the growing student population, the university has opened Rebel Market, a totally new dining facility in Johnson Commons, replacing the old cafeteria, as well as several satellite eateries across campus. Construction began this summer on a new residence hall in the Northgate area of campus, and Guess Hall is slated to be demolished soon to make way for two new five-story residence halls on that site.

Construction is continuing on a new facility for the School of Medicine, which will allow the university to increase class sizes, helping train more physicians to serve the state’s health care needs. A major expansion is underway at Coulter Hall, home of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and a new water tower is nearly complete near Kinard Hall. Work to renovate and modernize locker rooms and other fitness facilities at the Turner Center should wrap up by the end of the fall semester. Also, a three-year project will begin soon to expand and modernize the Student Union.

For more information on enrollment and programs at UM, go to http://www.olemiss.edu.

Incoming Pharmacy Students Honored at White Coat Ceremony

Students recite Pledge of Professionalism at event

Dean David D. Allen congratulates Suman Ali on receiving her white coat at the Aug. 15 ceremony.

Dean David D. Allen congratulates Suman Ali on receiving her white coat at the Aug. 15 ceremony.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Class of 2018 participated in the school’s White Coat Ceremony Aug. 15 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The annual ceremony marks the students’ completion of their pre-pharmacy curriculum and entry into the professional program. The school has 120 first-professional-year students enrolled this fall.

“It is an honor to participate in our White Coat Ceremony,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “The event allows us to recognize our students’ commitment to professionalism and, in turn, recognize the commitment that the School of Pharmacy has to provide an innovative and quality education.”

Provost Morris Stocks delivered the ceremony’s keynote address.

“The White Coat Ceremony symbolizes the transition from pre-clinical to clinical education, but it also symbolizes much more,” Stocks told the students. “The bestowing of the white coat will serve as a reminder to you of the expectations that society has placed upon you. More specifically, it will serve as a reminder that you are embarking on a journey, and you are becoming a member of a profession that society holds to a high standard of trust and responsibility.”

Laurie Warrington Fleming, immediate past-president of the Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists and clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, led the students in taking the Pledge of Professionalism. Leigh Ann Ross, the school’s associate dean for clinical affairs, presented each student with a copy of the pledge, which they each signed during the ceremony.

Allen and pharmacy student body president-elect Stephanie Sollis presented the coats. She urged her new classmates to be dedicated in all aspects of their education.

“You have all been dedicated in your studies by making it this far,” said Sollis, a native of Corning, Arkansas. “May the white coat remind you to continue that diligence in your studies to become the best pharmacists in the world. May the white coat also remind you to remain dedicated to the field of pharmacy. Strive to promote pharmacy, remain open to change and be willing to work to improve the profession.”

Stocks concluded by asking students to wear their white coats with “honor and humility,” while ensuring that the profession remains highly trusted by society.

For a list of the students (and their hometowns) who received their white coats, visit http://www.pharmacy.olemiss.edu/studentaffairs/whitecoat.html.

Medicinal Plants Topic for August Science Café

Director of National Center for Natural Products Research is inaugural fall speaker

The August Science Cafe will take place on August

The August Science Cafe is set for Aug. 19.

OXFORD, Miss. – The use of medicinal plants in disease treatment is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the UM Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The fall semester’s first meeting of the Oxford Science Café is set for 6 p.m. Aug. 19 at Lusa Pastry Cafe, 2305 West Jackson Ave. Larry Walker, director of the National Center for Natural Products Research at UM, will discuss “Plants as Medicines: New Insights for Old Remedies.” Admission is free.

“Medicinal plants have been staples in most human societies for all of recorded civilization,” Walker said. “Plants and plant-derived preparations shaped the medical pharmacopeias of Indian, Chinese, Arabic, native Americans and many other ancient cultures.”

Walker’s 30-minute presentation will review how 19th and 20th century experimental pharmacology has evolved in the 21st century.

“Pharmacology was largely based on observations of the effects, often toxicity, of plant-derived alkaloids,” he said. “Our constructs of the sympathetic nervous system, neuromuscular transmission, pain pathways and cardiac contractile mechanisms, among many others, were developed in this way. In the post-genome era, a number of exciting developments, new therapeutics are being developed based on plant-derived products.

“Understanding these elegant and complex pathways and their modulation by natural products holds rich promise for the future.”

Walker earned his bachelor’s degree from Oglethorpe University, a degree in pharmacy from Mercer University and a doctorate from Vanderbilt University. His other UM appointments include research professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and professor of pharmacology. He is also associate director for basic sciences at the Oxford campus of the UM Medical Center Cancer Institute.

Walker’s research interests include renal and cardiovascular pharmacology, drug discovery techniques for natural products and evaluation of the safety and efficacy of medicinal plants.

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