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.”