Pharmacy Administration Student Wins ‘Three Minute Thesis’ Challenge

Sujith Ramachandran takes 'Peoples' Choice' award during annual conference in New Orleans

UM pharmacy administration student Sujith Ramachandran (second from left) was one of the winners at the competition at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools held in New Orleans. He’s congratulated by  Donna West, Christy Wyandt and John Kiss.

UM pharmacy administration student Sujith Ramachandran (second from left) was one of the winners at the competition at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools held in New Orleans. He’s congratulated by Donna West, Christy Wyandt and John Kiss.

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi student’s “Three Minute Thesis” was the audience favorite at the recent Conference of Southern Graduate Schools annual meeting.

Sujith Ramachandran, a pharmacy administration student from India, won the “Peoples’ Choice” award during the competition in New Orleans. Audience members, rather than judges, selected his “Honey, We Drugged the Kids!” as the best and most interesting presentation.

“It was an amazing feeling to be standing up there with the best students from across the South,” Ramachandran said of his honor, which included a $250 cash prize. “I also feel like it was a very good conclusion to my thesis project. My department helped me put all of it together, from the project to the final presentation, and Dean Kiss helped me take it to the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools. So it was a rewarding experience for everyone involved.”

Ramachandran’s entry was based on his master’s thesis project, titled “Determining physician and patient characteristics that predict the use of atypical antipsychotics in children with mental health disorders.”

“It is an attempt to understand physician decision-making in the area of pediatric mental health,” he said. “My thesis is basically an insight into what causes physicians to prescribe new-generation antipsychotics (such as Abilify or Seroquel) to children under the age of 18.”

Twenty-six students from major universities throughout the South competed in the 3MT finals. Each has won his or her university’s title. Ramachandran qualified for the contest by winning the UM competition in November.

UM administrators congratulated Ramachandran on winning the honor.

“The competition was very intense in that the best students from other 26 major schools, such as the University of Virginia, Auburn University and the University of Kentucky, were represented,” said John Kiss, dean of the UM Graduate School. “Sujith’s win also is a testament to the interesting and vibrant graduate programs we are building at our university.”

Provost Morris Stocks said Ramachandran’s honor adds to UM’s reputation for academic rigor.

“Any recognition of UM research, particularly from fellow scientists, speaks to the high caliber of our students and our formidable faculty,” Stocks said. “Mr. Ramachandran’s achievement at the CSGS annual meeting is another bragging point for our already renowned standing as Mississippi’s flagship university.”

Ramachandran, who completed his master’s degree last year, is a doctoral candidate and is working on his dissertation.

“I hope to finish my Ph.D. within the next year or two,” Ramachandran said. “I plan to join the pharmaceutical industry after my graduation, but my long-term goal is to work in the health policy arena to help fix the problems with health care cost and quality.”

The Three Minute Thesis competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by doctoral students. Developed by the University of Queensland, the exercise cultivates students’ academic, presentation and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a nonspecialist audience.

“Our 3MT program has done a great job of highlighting our graduate level studies as well as promoted interdisciplinary research,” Kiss said.

For more information on the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools, go to http://www.csgs.org/. For more information on the 3MT competition, see http://threeminutethesis.org/index.html.

Pharmacy School to Install New NMR Spectrometers

Expanded capabilities will support drug research

NMR spectrometers ole miss school of pharmacy university of mississippi drug-discovery process research development software nuclear magnetic resonance

Charles Hufford helped acquire new NMR spectrometers for the pharmacy school.

OXFORD, Miss. – Known worldwide for its excellence in drug-discovery research, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy is installing three new nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers to complete a suite of eight and enhance its research capabilities.

The machines, which analyze chemical and physical properties of molecules, are part of an overhaul of the school’s NMR capabilities.

“NMRs are an integral part of the drug-discovery process,” said Charles Hufford, retiring associate dean for research and graduate programs. “They are absolutely essential for the research that we do.”

The school upgraded its 600-megahertz machine in December. A 500-MHz machine and two 400-MHz machines were delivered in January to be installed in upcoming months. An additional four machines reside in various areas of the school.

Hufford facilitated the purchase of the new and updated equipment, which cost roughly $1.5 million in federal funds. The funds were approved as part of the recent construction of Thad Cochran Research Center West under Grant No. C76HF10917 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The school has decades of experience with NMRs, having purchased its first proton-only machine in 1969. Multiple upgrades have occurred over the years, including the purchase of a superconducting 2D-NMR in 1985 and the addition of three new machines in 1995 when Thad Cochran Research Center East was built.

Maintenance, or “care and feeding,” of the machines is time-consuming, Hufford said. Most of the work involves keeping them full of liquid nitrogen and helium. These liquids allow the machines’ superconducting magnets to function properly.

Frank Wiggers, principal research and development spectroscopist, is largely responsible for these tasks.

“The new instruments will help greatly with time and cost of maintenance due to their longer hold times for both nitrogen and helium,” Wiggers said. “The new software, through automation, will also remove some of the user error. This will give the researchers better quality data in a shorter time frame.”

The machines will further help the school’s researchers by allowing them more time in general to conduct spectroscopy. It is unique for a pharmacy school to own eight NMR spectrometers, Hufford said.

“I certainly don’t know of any pharmacy school that has eight NMRs,” he said. “Many research schools have that many, but they are associated with other departments. My pharmacy colleagues at other institutions are jealous when I tell them that we will have eight.”

UM Pharmacy Administrator Named Fellow of APhA

Alicia Bouldin recognized for professional achievement, service

Alicia Bouldin

Alicia Bouldin

OXFORD, Miss. – The American Pharmacists Association Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science has named Alicia Bouldin a 2015 APhA fellow.

Awarded to only 15 individuals this year, the designation honors members who have demonstrated exemplary professional achievements and service to the profession. Bouldin, an associate dean and professor in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, will be honored March 27-30 at the APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego.

“To have been nominated was itself a humbling occasion, for that suggests that several of my peers felt that my contributions were worthy of noting in this way,” Bouldin said. “Then to have been selected by the committee was a thrill and a bit difficult for me to grasp.”

Bouldin, who serves as associate dean of outcomes assessment and learning advancement and professor in the Department of Pharmacy Administration, joined APhA as a student in the late 1980s. During graduate school, she became a member of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science, which she said opened her eyes to how the organization is involved with the practice and development of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences.

Through APhA, she was able to network and foster important development opportunities through the Economic, Social and Administrative Sciences section. She has presented research at the organization’s annual meetings and gained valuable feedback from colleagues nationwide.

Alicia Bouldin (center) was honored for professional achievements and service to the pharmacy profession.

Alicia Bouldin (center) was honored for professional achievements and service to the pharmacy profession.

As a faculty member, Bouldin has reviewed manuscripts for the association’s journal and served as adviser to the UM chapter of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists.

“Working with student leaders in that capacity for eight years was a privilege and taught me so much about leadership development and the potential of the next generation of pharmacists,” Bouldin said.

Tina Brock, associate dean and professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of California at San Francisco, organized nominations for Bouldin. John Bentley, UM professor of pharmacy administration, and Donna West-Strum, UM professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Administration, contributed nomination letters.

“There is no doubt that Dr. Bouldin is very deserving of this high honor,” Bentley said. “She is a distinguished teacher, an accomplished scholar and scientist, and a highly capable administrator. Furthermore, she is a passionate servant leader. She actively and enthusiastically demonstrates professional commitment through her participation and leadership in many different service roles, including as an active and contributing member of APhA for more than 20 years.”

Pharmacy Students Accept Johns Hopkins Internships

Experience offers chance to make hospitalwide effect on patient care

Rachel Lowe (left), Dean David D. Allen and Kelsey Stephens

Rachel Lowe (left), Dean David D. Allen and Kelsey Stephens

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy students have received and accepted summer internship offers from The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

Kelsey Stephens, from Greenwood, and Rachel Lowe, of Memphis, Tennessee, both in their second professional year of pharmacy school, will participate in the Johns Hopkins Pharmacy Internship Program, which accepts fewer than 20 students annually. Johns Hopkins Hospital is consistently ranked as one of the leading health care institutions worldwide.

Stephens was encouraged to apply for the internship by Mary-Haston Leary, a third-year professional student who completed the program last summer. Stephens said the internship will provide an irreplaceable learning experience.

“This internship will not only provide me with an unforgettable learning opportunity, but will also help me develop into a more well-rounded future health care provider through personal and professional growth,” Stephens said.

Following a lengthy application process, Stephens received the call in February that she had been accepted into the Education Training and Personal Development internship, which will be located on-site at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Education Division of the Department of Pharmacy trains and provides ongoing educational support regarding new policies, practices and drug therapies to the pharmacy staff.

As an intern, Stephens will assist with rotations, training, continuing education and staff development.

David Gregory, the pharmacy school’s associate dean for academic affairs, wrote a letter of recommendation on Stephens’ behalf. He said she has proven herself “time and time again” in both leadership and academics.

“Kelsey has been consistent in her commitment to practice in a clinical setting with a focus on research that improves patient care,” Gregory said. “She is dedicated to the profession, and I have no doubt that she will excel in this program.”

Lowe said she knew she wanted to expose herself to additional areas of pharmacy after interning at Walgreens last summer. She will be interning in the hospital’s Investigational Drug Services Department, where she will assist with dispensing investigational drugs, counsel research subjects, manage drug returns and summarize protocols and federal regulations for clinical drug trials.

Lowe said she is thrilled about the opportunity to be mentored by “experienced and brilliant pharmacists and staff” at Johns Hopkins. She said her experience at the UM pharmacy school has allowed her to develop and prepare for this internship.

“The School of Pharmacy truly fosters growth and excellence in each of its students,” she said. “The staff gives its time to further our education and development, and I am grateful to the faculty and the deans for their commitment to interacting with and encouraging students in all of their endeavors.”

John Bentley, pharmacy administration professor and Lowe’s faculty adviser, wrote one of her recommendation letters.

“Rachel is a scholar, a servant leader, a committed member of the pharmacy profession and a person of high integrity,” Bentley said. “She is an individual who learns for the sake of learning – to improve herself and to help others. I have been very impressed with her work ethic, her high standards and her willingness to go well above and beyond the basic requirements of pharmacy school.”

Both Lowe and Stephens will participate in weekly journal clubs, pharmacist and resident discussions, continuing education and individual research projects. They will also be able to shadow pharmacists in any specialty area of their choosing.

The internships begin June 1 and conclude July 31.

Pharmacy Alumna Receives Prestigious Teaching Award

Kelly Gable recognized for provider status, excellence in student instruction

Kelly Gable pharmacy ole miss university of mississippi pharmd alumna southern illinois university honor professional accolades teacher professor excellence

Kelly Gable delivers a commencement speech at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

OXFORD, Miss. – Kelly Gable, an alumna of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, has been awarded the Teaching Excellence Award from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Presented annually, the award is the highest teaching honor a faculty member at SIUE can receive.

Gable, who received her Pharm.D. from Ole Miss in 2004, is an associate professor in SIUE’s Department of Pharmacy Practice. She is the first School of Pharmacy faculty member to be given this recognition from SIUE.

“It is quite an honor,” Gable said. “I work with amazing faculty and have great respect for their work, both in the classroom and in their labs and practice sites.”

Gable’s teaching and professional accolades are numerous. She is the first and only clinical pharmacist in Missouri (SIUE is about 20 miles northeast of St. Louis) to achieve provider recognition from the Department of Mental Health, allowing her to provide psychiatric services to hundreds of patients in the greater St. Louis region. Her provider status also allows for reimbursement of her services through the state Medicaid system.

To gain this designation, Gable spent seven years working in the Missouri health care system as part of her service through her academic position at SIUE. She works clinically at Places for People, a nonprofit organization that provides care and services to those recovering from mental illnesses, providing Medication Therapy Services through a collaborative practice agreement with a psychiatrist there.

Gable is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry at St. Louis University School of Medicine. Involvement within mental health care was her initial inspiration to teach.

“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring a better knowledge and awareness of the mental health care system to pharmacy, nursing, medical, education and social work students,” Gable said. “I recognized early on in my career the powerful impact one can have with each individual patient encounter, and that as an educator, you have the potential to touch even more lives through what you teach your students.”

Chris Herndon, also an associate professor in SIUE’s pharmacy practice department, said that Gable is “the quintessential clinical academician, blending scholarship and clinical service into her innovative teaching methods.” Herndon said his colleagues are very proud of Gable’s accomplishments.

Gable said she believes that her experiences at the UM School of Pharmacy have strongly influenced her success. One of her most influential mentors at the university was David McCaffrey, former professor of pharmacy administration.

“I was never a ‘model’ student, and he encouraged me to think outside of the box and to push the limits,” she said. “He encouraged me to finish the Pharm.D. program, and I have no doubt that his influence throughout my education at Ole Miss has allowed me to develop into the educator and clinician that I am today.”

Gable delivered the commencement speech at the university’s fall commencement ceremony. A combined love of her daughter and Dr. Seuss inspired Gable’s speech. Her advice is applicable to students everywhere.

“Be passionate about what you do. If it makes you happy to help people – do it,” she said. “If it doesn’t, do it anyway. Life is short and full of many gifts. Being kind, compassionate and caring is the best gift you can give.”

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.”