The event marked a historic milestone for the college, said Debbie Byrd, dean of the college.
“This marks a momentous occasion for our college that, 14 years ago, was founded by this community to care for the people of our region,” Byrd said.
Class speaker and president Shannon Schreiner, who also received the Guy B. Wilson Jr. Leadership Award for her role as an active leader in the college, recalled the day the students received their white coats before their courses.
“I don’t think any of us could’ve guessed how fast these last four years would fly by,” she said.
Raymond Nash, 26, said his experience in the College of Pharmacy was “very enjoyable” and that he would miss the camaraderie among ETSU pharmacy students.
Before receiving his hood, Nash said he was looking forward to going out into the health care field to continue helping others.
In the epicenter of public health problems like the opioid epidemic, Nash considers it to be important work.
“I always said that if you go in the medical field, you’ll always have a job. When I thought about pharmacy, I worked at a pharmacy before coming here to try it out for about 10 years. I loved it, so I decided to jump into pharmacy,” he said.
“There’s always going to be a need for it, especially here,” he later continued. “I think they do a great job of preparing us for that. It’s very focused on patient care.”
Several awards were presented, including academic awards to Kyle Scott Rice and Chelsea LeAnn Roberts, who earned the Pharmacy Valedictorian Achievement Award for perfect 4.0-grade point averages.
Sarah Appiah Ofori was presented with the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Achievement Award, the United States Public Health Service Excellence Award and the Gary Mabrey Community Service Award.
Other awards included the Gatton College of Pharmacy Patient Care Award to Audrey Ololade Amolegbe; the Lilly Achievement Award to Allison Marie Anderson; the Merck Award for Pharmacy Excellence to Narmin Ahmed Abdo Mohammed and Kyle Scott Rice; the Mylan Institute of Pharmacy Excellence in Pharmacy Award to Sara Lynn Boles; the Wolters Kluwer Health’s Fact and Comparisons Award for Excellence in Clinical Communication Skills to Kathryn Veronica Esposito; and the Baeteena M. Black Leadership Award to Chelsea LeAnn Roberts.
Later that afternoon, nearly 60 students also received their degrees at the Quillen College of Medicine commencement ceremony, held at First Christian Church.