Incoming UM Pharmacy Students Receive White Coats at Annual Ceremony

School has 118 first-year students enrolled this fall

Martin Love of Brandon receives his white coat from Dean David D. Allen.

Martin Love of Brandon receives his white coat from Dean David D. Allen.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Class of 2019 participated in the school’s White Coat Ceremony recently at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The ceremony, an annual tradition, marks the completion of the students’ pre-pharmacy curriculum and their transition to the school’s four-year professional program. The school has 118 first-year students enrolled this fall.

The white coat is the universal symbol of professionalism in the health care field, and the ceremony is a way of formally recognizing and fostering students’ commitment to professionalism.

Dean David D. Allen gave opening remarks at the event.

“An exciting academic and experiential program awaits you,” Allen said. “Our faculty and staff will continue to guide you, support you and ensure that you have the necessary knowledge and experiences to become outstanding pharmacists. This is our commitment to you, and we will not waver from it.”

Acting Provost Noel Wilkin delivered the ceremony’s keynote address. Wilkin, a pharmacist and professor of pharmacy administration, shared his perspective on the profession.

“Over your lifetime, you will accomplish many goals, and your life will go through many phases,” Wilkin said. “Few will be as significant as the phase you are entering tonight. Because of your accomplishments, your dedication to learning and your desire to pursue pharmacy education, you are being welcomed into the student phase of a wonderful and rewarding profession.”

The white coat is a symbol of professionalism in the health care field.

The white coat is a symbol of professionalism in the health care field.

Student body president-elect Katherine Baggett assisted Allen in presenting the coats. Baggett charged the class to remain dedicated to the field of pharmacy, be passionate about service and be open to change.

“May the white coat remind you to be dedicated to service,” said Baggett, an Ocean Springs native. “Patient care is at the forefront of pharmacy, and I hope that you will always be leaders by serving these patients and keeping their best interests at heart.”

Brent Smith, a 1975 graduate of the school and president of Chaney’s Pharmacy, led the students in the recitation of the Pledge of Professionalism. During the ceremony, each student signed a copy of the pledge, which will be framed and placed in the school’s hallway.

For a complete list of students (and their hometowns) who received their white coats, visit

Students Help Protect UM, Community During Flu Season

'Operation Immunization' part of national immunization campaign

Last year, pharmacy students at the University of Mississippi provided flu shots to hundreds of faculty, staff, students and community members. This year’s drive aims to increase that number.

Last year, UM pharmacy students provided flu shots to hundreds of faculty, staff, students and community members. This year’s drive aims to increase that number.

OXFORD, Miss. – The dreaded flu season is fast approaching, so it’s time to get an annual flu shot. Students at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy are making it easy to stay healthy this year without leaving campus.

In conjunction with the national Operation Immunization campaign driven by the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists, the Ole Miss chapter of the organization has coordinated multiple opportunities for university faculty, staff, students and community members to get flu shots.

Operation Immunization’s goal is to increase the public’s knowledge of immunizations while also increasing the number of adults receiving immunizations. Meredith Oliver, a second-year professional pharmacy student from Collierville, Tennessee, is organizing the event.

“As student pharmacists, we believe it is our duty to educate our campus about the importance of receiving the flu shot,” Oliver said. “By getting vaccinated, you are not only protecting yourself from this virus but also preventing yourself from passing the flu to your friends, family and colleagues. Our goal is to help improve the Ole Miss community’s health by vaccinating our fellow Rebels.”

This year, APhA-ASP will partner with the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, School of Nursing and the Student National Pharmaceutical Association. Mackenzie Lewis, chapter president-elect and a second-year professional pharmacy student from Ruston, Louisiana, said that it is important to “promote inter-professionalism with other medical professionals and organizations.”

Last year, members of APhA-ASP immunized a majority of Ole Miss student-athletes.

“The University of Mississippi is the flagship university of our state and has so many resources to offer our students and the broader community,” said Ross Bjork, Ole Miss athletics director. “Oftentimes we are able to create very unique partnerships that capitalize on the strengths of the university and on the high visibility of our athletics program.

“Operation Immunization is a great example of utilizing valuable resources in our School of Pharmacy and the platform of athletics to provide a service that everyone can benefit from, especially our students and student-athletes. We appreciate the great work of our ‘neighbors’ in the School of Pharmacy and cannot wait to see what we can do in the future.”

David D. Allen, the school’s dean, said he is looking forward to this year’s event.

“Immunizations are an incredibly important service that our students provide on both our Oxford and Jackson campuses,” Allen said. “It’s exciting that we can again partner with Ole Miss athletics to help out their outstanding student-athletes – one of which is our very own first-year professional pharmacy student and soccer player, Jenn Miller.”

For the month of September and the first week of October, students certified through APhA’s Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery Program will be administering flu shots at various campus locations.

Immunizations will be given:

  • Sept. 9 – Lyceum, Room 110, 1-5 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 – Student Union, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (in collaboration with the School of Nursing)
  • Sept. 21 – Lyceum, Room 110, 1-5 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 – Student Union Plaza, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Sept. 23 – Grove Stage, 12:30-5 p.m.
  • Oct. 2 – Khayat Law Center, Room 1115, Noon-4 p.m.
  • Oct. 2 – School of Pharmacy, Noon-4 p.m.
  • Oct. 20 – Student Union Health Fair, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Immunization recipients can choose to bill their health insurance, which typically covers this service, and students can have their bursar account charged with proof of student ID.

The event benefits both pharmacy students and those being immunized, said Joseph A. Dikun, APhA-ASP co-adviser and graduate assistant in the Department of Pharmacy Administration.

“It’s powerful to see our students engage with their patients, provide key preventative health measures, as well as introduce them to how the care of a pharmacist – the medication expert – can make a difference in their lives,” Dikun said.

According to APhA’s website, flu vaccines can prevent more than 50,000 deaths annually. Since the launch of this program in 1997, more than 1 million individuals have received immunizations through it.

For more information on the national campaign, visit

Ole Miss School of Pharmacy Honors Senior Scientist

Environmental toxicologist specializes in biotechnology for Army Corps of Engineers

in the lab

Jeffery Steevens

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy honored its Distinguished Alumnus of the Year at the annual Alumni Weekend Awards Banquet and Reunion Dinner.

Jeffery Steevens, senior scientist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was recognized for his involvement in student service and professional achievement.

“We are so pleased to honor Dr. Steevens,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “He is the quintessential Alumnus of the Year. In addition to his distinguished career, he has time and time again mentored our students and served our school in multiple capacities.”

Steevens came to the university as a student in 1994 to work with Bill Benson, former faculty member and environmental toxicology research leader. Steevens graduated with a Ph.D. in pharmacology in 1999. That year, he accepted a position in Vicksburg, with the Army Corps of Engineers at the then-named Waterways Experiment Station.

“I started out as a team member on a toxicology team there,” Steevens said. “I was initially involved in a contaminant assessment in New York Harbor, where I worked with the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Within a year of graduating, Steevens was involved in developing an international treaty called the London Convention. The agreement controls ocean pollution and specifically addresses radioactive materials.

“The project was very interesting,” Steevens said. “I had to develop a guidance document for what is acceptable in regard to disposing radioactive materials at sea. Today, that document is used as the standard approach to this issue.”

In 2005, Steevens became one of only 28 senior scientists in the Army – an extraordinary accomplishment.

“The Army picks different focus areas for its senior scientists,” Steevens said. “My area is biotechnology. It’s a fairly broad topic. I’m currently involved in making sure that some of the new technologies that the Army is developing are safe for the environment and our soldiers.”

Nanotechnology is an emerging field that Steevens is evaluating.

Dean David D. Allen (right) presents Jeffery Steevens with the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award.

Dean David D. Allen (right) presents Jeffery Steevens with the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award.

“This is an exciting area right now,” Steevens said. “There are great opportunities for things like body armor, medicine and protective materials. These can be used to help the soldier, but at the same time, we want to make sure that the materials don’t harm the soldier or the environment.”

Kristine Willett, professor of pharmacology, has worked with Steevens over the years.

“Jeff has been so supportive of our program and our students,” Willett said. “With his role in the Vicksburg labs, he lectures to our students each year in my toxicology class. It’s an incredible experience for them because he has real-world examples from projects that he’s worked on around the world.”

Steevens is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of BioMolecular Sciences, which allows him to serve on student committees. Additionally, he serves on the school’s Board of Visitors, an external advisory group.

Upon learning of his selection for the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award, Steevens said he was excited and humbled.

“I have a very strong connection to the university and to the School of Pharmacy in particular,” he said. “I have a lot of great memories here. I’m thankful for the education I’ve received and contacts that I’ve made here, as well as to the people that have helped me along the way.”

Fourth-Year Pharmacy Student Lands National Scholarship

Program encourages students to pursue careers in academia

OXFORD, Miss. – Cody Tawater, a fourth-year professional pharmacy student at the University of Mississippi, has been chosen to participate in the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Walmart Scholars Program.

John Rimoldi (left) and Cody Tawater

John Rimoldi (left) and Cody Tawater

In its 11th year, the prestigious program awards $1,000 scholarships to 85 student-faculty pairs from AACP member institutions to attend select seminars and annual meetings.

“The goal of the scholarship in general is to allow pharmacy students the opportunity to attend the (AACP) national meeting and strengthen students’ commitment to the profession of academia,” said Tawater, of Philadelphia, Mississippi. “It gives the recipients the opportunity to network with faculty from schools around the country and with other Walmart scholars who are envisioning a career in academia.”

John Rimoldi, UM professor of medicinal chemistry, is serving as Tawater’s faculty mentor and will help Tawater network with other faculty members. He will also help Tawater understand a number of academia issues, such as teaching pedagogies and curricular design.

“Cody has all the best attributes one desires in a student and a future faculty colleague: a resolute work ethic, a commitment to excellence in research and scholarship, and a desire and gift for teaching and service,” Rimoldi said.

Since the program’s inception, 14 scholar-mentor teams from the UM School of Pharmacy have participated in the program. Rimoldi said that this is telling.

“It’s a testament to our students’ outstanding achievements and our faculty commitment to mentoring,” he said.

Tawater hopes to get a behind-the-scenes look at academia through his involvement in the program.

“I hope to gain a greater understanding of academic pharmacy and how fulfilling of a career it could be,” he said. “There are so many parts of academia that are unseen by the students, and I hope to learn about them.”

In conjunction with the program, Tawater attended AACP’s annual meeting July 9-15 in National Harbor, Maryland.

“I feel that it is a great honor to represent the University of Mississippi as a Walmart scholar,” Tawater said. “Being a pharmacy student at Ole Miss has opened my eyes to all sorts of new things, including academic pharmacy. I hope I represented the school well.”

UM Students Get Pharmacy Experience in Peru

Mission provides medications, reading glasses to locals

Pharmacy students interact with Peruvian children while on a medical mission trip.

Pharmacy students interact with Peruvian children while on a medical mission trip.

OXFORD, Miss. – Arriving around midnight in Lima, Peru, six University of Mississippi pharmacy students began an arduous drive up the Pan-American Highway. After traversing mountain roads for eight hours, they arrived at their home base in Pomabamba.

From there, they ventured out to the remote villages of Pallahuasi, Chogo, Piscos and Vinauya. Their mission: reach the unreachable.

“We had very strenuous riding conditions,” said Jennifer Reid, a third-year professional student from Madison. “We traveled throughout the Andes Mountains on gravel roads – they were terrible for our trucks. In fact, we had two different trucks break down. We traveled these hard, dangerous roads because we wanted to reach people where no other mission teams have ever been before.”

Randy Calvert, a 1980 UM graduate who works as a pharmacist at Walgreens in Madison, recently led third-year students Reid, Anna Blair Brown, Colleen Riley and Laken Burrell, as well as fourth-year students Rachel Swearingen and Elizabeth Roland on the medical mission trip. Sponsored by First Baptist Church of Jackson, the 13-day trip had multiple goals that included filling prescriptions, fitting reading glasses, administering face cream and providing spiritual healing.

“The eagerness of the students to serve is so refreshing,” Calvert said. “We have a share time each night of what they observed during the course of the day – it is my favorite time of all. Usually we have something bad come into the clinic, anything from a scalded child to a broken bone, but this year we had a man come in with a severe leg infection, which we treated. The gratitude of the people makes it all worthwhile.”

The students assisted in all areas of service, which began with a doctor’s diagnosis. The patients then visited the pharmacy to have their prescriptions filled. All visitors received Albendazole for parasitic infections caused by unsanitary water. They were also administered face cream as the dry weather in the area chaps their faces.

“We were able to give the Quechua people that came to our clinic things that most Americans think of as commonplace,” said Brown, who hails from Raymond. “A lot of medications we dispensed were to help things as simple as indigestion, and we gave out many pairs of reading glasses.”

Laken Burrell fits a patient with reading glasses.

Laken Burrell fits a patient with reading glasses.

In fact, glasses were a hot commodity for the Peruvian people. All of them were cherished, except for one pair.

“We found a pair of purple glasses that no one wanted,” said Swearingen, a Memphis, Tennessee, native. “It became everyone’s goal to find them a home. We passed them around, and all modeled them. Finally, on the very last day, an older man picked the purple glasses. We cheered and took his picture – it was phenomenal.”

Culture shock and language barriers provided some challenges for the students on the trip. It was difficult to communicate with the people in villages, who either spoke Quechua or Spanish.

“We were able to use Spanish translation cheat sheets to counsel patients,” Burrell said. “The Peruvians would laugh and giggle with us when we mispronounced virtually everything we attempted to say.”

Roland, who also hails from Madison, recounted an unusual but amusing experience while examining patients in one of the villages.

“I told Rachel that I thought I heard a bird in the room,” she said. “We couldn’t figure out where the noise was coming from. Then, the lady we were helping started laughing and lifted the bottom of her shirt. To our surprise, a baby chick walked out. That is definitely something you don’t see every day in an American pharmacy!”

Calvert, who is a preceptor for the school, is a veteran when it comes to missions and has enlisted the help of pharmacy students on various trips since 2005. By diagnosing, counseling, dispensing and immunizing, pharmacists are the most versatile health professionals in the mission field, he said.

“This type of service is so important to others, and being in the field teaches teamwork, self-discipline, gratitude, humility, flexibility and service to others,” he said. “It takes the focus off of ourselves and onto the work that we were created to do.”

Burrell, an Amory native, said the experience was significant.

“These people rarely see medical doctors and rarely experience relief from ailments that we are able to treat,” she said. “Not only were we able to make an impact in these people’s lives, but also we were able to learn more about pharmacy and apply our knowledge in a different way and in a foreign environment. Most importantly, we were able to cater to their souls and give them spiritual and physical healing.”

Staff Member Keeps Pharmacy School’s Equipment in Working Order

Derek Oglesby

Derek Oglesby

A leap of faith brought Lowndes County native Derek Oglesby to the University of Mississippi.

“I hail from ‘Bulldog country,'” Oglesby said. “Ole Miss was never really on my list as one of the places I expected to work when I grew up.”

That changed, however, when Oglesby applied for a position with the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Marijuana Research Project 14 years ago. Hired as a groundskeeper, he eventually transitioned to the National Center for Natural Products Research’s Maynard W. Quimby Medicinal Plant Garden and served as an associate research and development horticulturist.

Growing up around farmland, Oglesby fit in well at the garden. During his tenure there, he worked with the resident botanist to improve the quality of tools and products used to assist research. He designed and built an array of these tools, some of which included wooden arbors and a trellis for climbing medicinal plant species, a mechanical dryer used to dry harvested plant materials under specific research parameters, and a plant propagator. He also made improvements and advancements to the plant specimen grinding program.

Oglesby said he is particularly proud of his involvement in the construction of the medicinal plant garden at its new location.

“It was very rewarding to get to work so closely with the architects, Facilities Planning, the Office of Research and NCNPR administration throughout that entire project from design to completion,” he said. “The garden has been an important part of the school’s research program since it began in 1965. We wanted to ensure that the new facility would not lose its rich history but would be able to thrive well into the future.”

After 12 years, Oglesby joined the school’s then-new Technical Services team, which provides an array of services, from maintaining the school’s vehicles to attending to large-scale mechanical systems and problems.

“Derek has quite a rapport with UM Facilities Management,” said Don Stanford, assistant director of the school’s Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and head of the Technical Services team. “They trust his judgment and advice. He doesn’t just report problems, he offers solutions.”

While Oglesby’s day-to-day tasks can vary, one constant exists.

“The School of Pharmacy has some of the best academic and research programs you will find, and my job is to do my part to ensure those programs and people experience the least disruptions possible from their work environment and the equipment they use each day,” Oglesby said. “If the day has gone smoothly for our faculty, researchers and staff, then I have had a successful day.”

Oglesby said that the most satisfying part about his job is his relationship with co-workers who have become like family.

“(My co-workers) have supported me and my family during some difficult times,” he said. “I know the school is the right fit for me and could not imagine working anywhere else.”

Steadfast Retiree Continues to Have Impact on Pharmacy School

Robert Bishop reflects on nearly 50 years of memories

Robert Bishop

Robert Bishop

OXFORD, Miss. – When looking back over his nearly 50 years at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, Robert Bishop remembers his friends the most.

“I made some very good friends at the pharmacy school,” he said. “I’ve had a really wonderful time here. Time really does fly when you’re having fun.”

Bishop, who was hired in 1968 as a stockroom clerk and eventually promoted to buyer, performed a variety of tasks to support the school.

“Basically, I took care of the stockroom,” he said. “I kept up with the school’s vehicles, set up seminars and worked with solvents. There were 3,000 gallons of solvents in bulk 55-gallon drums that we had to pour in 1-gallon bottles for our researchers. It took four hours to pour them.”

Bishop worked under five deans, each of whom had different personalities, he said. One memory that comes to his mind is a prank pulled on Ken Roberts, who served as dean in the ’90s.

“We had a big meeting in the Y building, where they were serving lunch,” Bishop said. “Most people who knew Dean Roberts at the time knew he would only drink Diet Coke. We took all the Diet Cokes out of the cooler and waited for him to come by. You should have seen his face. It was all in good fun, though – we hit it off really well.”

Outside the pharmacy school, Bishop was a tank commander in the Mississippi National Guard for almost 30 years. He credits the school with giving him the flexibility to serve when duty called.

An avid outdoorsman, Bishop hunts and fishes regularly – he’s even hunted elk in the Tetons. This could be the reason for his levelheadedness the time a deer ended up in the stockroom.

One of Smith's favorite pastimes is crappie fishing.

One of Smith’s favorite pastimes is crappie fishing.

“There are often deer on campus, but I didn’t believe it when they first told me there was one in the stockroom,” Bishop said. “Then I heard it hit the shelves. It was a mess. We finally managed to lure it out.”

Bishop has been described as honest, hardworking and dedicated. According to Don Stanford, assistant director for the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, these descriptors couldn’t be more accurate.

“Robert always puts the School of Pharmacy first,” Stanford said. “He’s truly concerned about the certain aspects of the school that he’s involved with. He wants to see things done properly and efficiently, and takes it upon himself to see tasks through.”

One example of his commitment to the school was on a recent snow day, Stanford said.

“I woke up that morning and got a RebAlert text stating that the university wouldn’t open until 10 a.m.,” Stanford said. “The first thing I did was call Robert. He was just a few minutes away from driving to Oxford. He had no intentions of even asking anybody if the university was closed or open.”

Bishop officially retired from the school in 2009 but has continued working part time and is still going strong. While working for the school full time, he said the key to his success was his effort to go “above and beyond” as much as possible.

“I tried to give the school the best service that someone could possibly give,” Bishop said. “I thought if I could do that, I’d be respected. I also tried to make everyone enjoy working here.”

UM Student Appointed to ASHP Student Executive Committee

Gabe Hinojosa of Picayune among five students nationally named to panel

Clinical assistant professor Joshua Fleming (left) and student Gabe Hinojosa at ASHP’s summer meeting.

Clinical assistant professor Joshua Fleming (left) and student Gabe Hinojosa at ASHP’s summer meeting.

OXFORD, Miss. – The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists has appointed Gabe Hinojosa, a University of Mississippi pharmacy student, to its Pharmacy Student Forum Executive Committee.

“The executive committee is responsible for advising the ASHP board of directors and staff on the overall direction of the Pharmacy Student Forum,” Hinojosa said. “In everything we do, our overarching goal is to provide students around the nation with the information and tools they need to be successful leaders in their communities and advance the profession of pharmacy.”

ASHP’s president appoints five students from across the nation to the Student Forum Executive Committee each year.

Hinojosa, a Picayune native in his fourth professional year of pharmacy school, has served in various leadership positions within ASHP at local, state and national levels. He served as the president of the pharmacy school’s Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists and on ASHP’s Leadership Development Advisory Group this year.

Hinojosa was recently given the Bruce Parks Memorial Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists Student Award. The award is presented to a student who exemplifies “outstanding integrity, leadership and a strong desire to enhance the mission of health-system pharmacy in Mississippi,” according to MSHP.

Joshua Fleming, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and newly inducted chair of ASHP’s New Practitioner Forum Executive Committee, will advise Hinojosa in his new role.

“I am very excited about Gabe’s appointment,” Fleming said. “Throughout his tenure at the School of Pharmacy, he has exhibited exemplary leadership. I look forward to working with him in a mentoring relationship for his new role in ASHP.”

Hinojosa, who was installed at ASHP’s summer meeting in June, said he is excited to serve students across the country.

“The thing I am looking forward to the most during my appointment is the relationships I will build and the people I will meet,” he said. “I love meeting new people and hearing about the amazing things they are doing for our profession in their home state.

“It is even more rewarding when you meet someone who is facing a problem you have already overcome and you are able to provide (that person) with ideas and resources to do the same.”

On-campus Pharmacy Provides Vital Services for Quarter-century

Facility serves campus community and offers educational experiences for pharmacy residents

Chad Westmoreland (left), Michael Warren, Sandy Bentley, Erin Murphy, Alyson Hamm and Anne Marie Liles

Chad Westmoreland (left), Michael Warren, Sandy Bentley, Erin Murphy, Alyson Hamm and Anne Marie Liles

OXFORD, Miss. – Conveniently located near the heart of campus, the Student Health Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi has been helping students with their medical needs for 25 years.

The Student Health Pharmacy is administered by the School of Pharmacy, under the direct leadership of co-directors Sandy Bentley and Anne Marie Liles.

“Our pharmacy provides on-campus pharmacy resources for students, from prescription medications to direct patient care services, such as tobacco cessation counseling and immunizations,” said Leigh Ann Ross, associate dean for clinical affairs for the pharmacy school. “With the recent reorganization to include a co-director of clinical services, we plan to continue to provide stellar medication delivery and counseling while expanding the clinical pharmacy services provided for our students and employees.”

Bentley, director of operations, said that the pharmacy primarily exists for the students.

“We exist to take care of their needs,” Bentley said. “We offer quick services, especially for students who need to get back to class. That’s the whole idea of having a health center on campus.”

Student Health Center pharmacists provide informational counseling to those students who are getting a prescription for the first time.

One of the staff pharmacists, Chad Westmoreland, said he finds it rewarding to provide services to the students.

“I answer any type of questions they have and educate them on prescription uses, so it’s nice to get to interact with students one-on-one,” Westmoreland said.

The clinic also provides counseling for students and employees who are trying to quit smoking and using tobacco products.

“I am the primary tobacco cessation provider in the pharmacy,” Bentley said. “Students are able to quit tobacco, but the most important factor is their desire or motivation to quit tobacco use.”

The pharmacy offers immunizations and vaccines to students without an appointment. Often, these are vaccines required for different medical majors. Students in health care-related fields are required to have hepatitis B, chicken pox and yearly flu shots.

Michael Warren, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, provides vaccinations for students who are going on mission trips and other studies abroad. Employees also can take advantage of this service when traveling abroad.

Liles, who serves in the new role of clinical director of the pharmacy, is working to further develop existing clinical pharmacy services and expand these into new areas for both students and campus employees. She said she hopes to offer disease and medication management as well.

“There are many unique aspects about working for a pharmacy on a university campus,” Liles said. “Certainly, the patient population is the most unique. When pharmacies in the community develop clinical services, college students are not the typical targeted population. So finding out what their needs are and how to address them is definitely a challenge.”

The Student Health Pharmacy works closely with professional pharmacy students, who receive hands-on training while completing Introductory or Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences.

“We take pharmacy students on rotation,” Bentley said. “The students have the opportunity to counsel patients, interact with the clinic physicians and shadow the nurses to learn more about health care delivery in this setting.”

Alex Hudson, a rising third-year professional pharmacy student, works with Bentley. He said that counseling patients on their new medications gives him a better understanding of the importance of the pharmacist-patient relationship.

“I could not be happier with my experience working at the Student Health Center Pharmacy,” Hudson said. “The hands-on experiences I am gaining have taught me so much and will allow me to be a better, more competent pharmacist.”

A Don of All Trades

Longtime pharmacy employee has many talents

OXFORD, Miss. – Whether at work or at home, Don Stanford is always looking for the next adventure.

Once featured on National Geographic’s website, this photo, shot by Stanford with a remote control camera, shows Stanford camped in a red oak.

Once featured on National Geographic’s website, this photo, shot by Stanford with a remote control camera, shows Stanford camping in a red oak.

“I really enjoy doing anything new or anything challenging,” Stanford said. “I’ll be right in the middle of those projects to try to shepherd things through and make things happen.”

Stanford is assistant director of the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, part of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. He first began working with the school as a senior research technician in 1980.

“Don has been an integral part of our team for years,” said David D. Allen, the school’s dean. “His talent is impressive on multiple levels.”

As assistant director of RIPS, Stanford oversees and directs the school’s infrastructure and research operations. He has organized a team that is responsible for facilities and information technology. The team is in charge of everything inside the school’s buildings, including research equipment.

Outside the School of Pharmacy, however, Stanford is just as ambitious. He said he loves to be outdoors and will “take any excuse to be outside.” A professional tree climber, Stanford has climbed trees that are 200 feet tall.

“For a while, I was going to the annual rendezvous for Tree Climbers International,” he said. “They held it in different places, in Oregon and Nebraska and Colorado. I would stay a week, and we would camp up in the trees.

“We would use a ‘tree boat’ to camp, which is a heavy-duty hammock that you sleep in. You use a harness to get up into the tree, and then you are anchored to a limb up above. When you sleep, you stay in that harness and never come out of it.”

In the past, Stanford has acted as a certified facilitator for various guided tree climbs.

“I’ve taken people up into trees – I always had extra equipment to rescue them if they got stuck,” he said. “People have their ceilings when it comes to heights. For some people it’s 20 feet off the ground, and for others it’s much higher.”

Stanford is also a member of an 800-acre hunting club in Lafayette County, though not for the reason one might think.

“I hardly ever hunt; it just gives me an excuse to go sit outdoors,” Stanford said. “I photograph the interesting things I see. I really enjoy nature photography.”

Stanford is known around the school for his interest in hot air ballooning. He began flying in 1979 after watching a PBS documentary about wildlife photographers using a balloon to photograph African animals.

After earning a commercial pilot license, which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration for passenger balloon pilots, Stanford flew at festivals in Canada and France. One of his most memorable flights was for a presidential candidate.

“In 1980 when Ronald Reagan was the Republican nominee for president, his campaign people hired me to fly at an outdoor rally in Columbus, Mississippi, where Mr. Reagan was to speak,” Stanford said. “The plan was for him to make his opening remarks; I would launch and fly over the stage while the audience was still applauding. Because it was very windy, we had to rush the launch and I interrupted Mr. Reagan in the middle of his opening remarks. He paused, looked up and said, ‘Wow!'”