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The class learned to keep swimming



May 5, 2023

The Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy held its 10th hooding ceremony Friday, sending 41 new doctors of pharmacy into the first stage of their professional careers.

One word seemed to sum up the Class of 2023’s journey through the academic rigors of PCSP’s curriculum while also experiencing a global pandemic and life’s everyday ups and downs.


In her keynote address, Dr. Tiffaney Threatt, professor of pharmacy practice and the 2023 Teacher of the Year, presented her former students with a few final lessons, including a charge to overcome obstacles.

“Pharmacy is a demanding profession that requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to persevere in the face of challenges,” she said. “But if you remain steadfast in your commitment to your patients and your profession, you will ultimately achieve success.”

Threatt reminded graduates that they will not live perfect lives or follow straight paths – but each will find a purpose based on their unique talents and shaped by their own experiences. Threatt said her way to becoming a pharmacist who teaches other pharmacists was unclear at first.

“You have chosen a wonderful profession,” she said. “Is this God’s plan or purpose for your life? While you’re practicing pharmacy, will you have the same plan 20 years from now? That answer I do not know. But I do know in all certainty that every page turned is a lesson learned.”

Threatt said pharmacists have the power to change lives and positively impact patients’ health and well-being. They are responsible for providing safe and effective therapies and opportunities to educate and empower people to take charge of their health.

“Be humble and never take this power for granted,” she said. “This is not a responsibility to be taken lightly – but it is also not to be feared. You have been trained to be competent and compassionate, and you have the tools to make a difference in the lives of your patients. You are equipped to face the challenges that come your way and you have the strength and resilience to overcome any obstacle that may arise.”

In addition to being knowledgeable and working well with other healthcare providers, Threatt said it is essential for pharmacists to be kind, caring, and curious.

“As you enter this new chapter of your life, recall your lessons and learn from the new ones,” she said. “Remain humble, curious and compassionate. Remain humble in the face of your successes. And always be willing to learn and grow. Remain curious about the world around you and continue to seek out knowledge and perspectives. And above all, remain compassionate towards your patients and those around you – for it is through compassion that we can really make a difference in this world.”

Gabby Hill, PCSP’s 2023 Distinguished Graduating Student, also made perseverance the theme of her commencement address.

Hill reminded her classmates of the many challenging classes they endured together, the countless hours of studying, the brutal tests, and the tears that followed – from the time they were presented with their white coats in 2019 through the difficulties they faced together during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to all the effort they made to graduate. Hill said she often felt like an imposter, at times, to becoming a pharmacist.

“But I persevered,” she said. “We all persevered because here we are. Four years later, we’re Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy’s Class of ’23. Every time we thought it was too hard, or that we weren’t going to make it – all the sleep we lost and tears we shed were worth it because today we are graduating and we’ve learned how to persevere.”

Like Dory in “Finding Nemo,” the class learned to keep swimming, Hill said.

“We kept swimming and we persevered,” she said. “Today is the start of a new swim, a new journey. It’s not going to be easy as a pharmacist, but thankfully because of our unique pharmacy school experience, we know how to persevere. We know how to keep swimming.”

Pharmacy school dean Dr. Giuseppe Gumina recognized several distinguished faculty and staff members during the ceremony. He announced the promotions of Dr. Katie Ellis and Dr. Mary Douglass Smith to associate professors of pharmacy practice and Threatt to full professor. He also noted Dr. Julie Cash’s work as director of postgraduate education for her exceptional work in preparing nearly 90 percent of graduates for placement in postgraduate residency programs.

Gumina also recognized professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences, Dr. Laura Fox, for earning two highly prestigious awards from the American Association of Colleges and Pharmacy – the Innovation in Teaching Award and the Pharmaceutics Section Innovation in Teaching Excellence Award.

The following awards were also presented at the hooding ceremony:

  • The Merck Manuals Award for Academic Excellence – Colin Busbee
  • The Viatris Excellence in Pharmacy Award – Kaileigh Collins
  • The Wolters Kluwer Health Award of Excellence in Clinical Communications – Jared Cvetko
  • The Presbyterian College Mortar & Pestle Award – Gabby Hill
  • The Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Xavier Shuler and Brittany Thomason
  • The Certificate in Research Achievement – Shelby Andrysczyk and Michael Jenkins

The Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy Class of 2023

  • Alexis Jayde Almeida
  • Shelby Lynn Andrysczyk, Cum Laude
  • Robert Douglas Azevedo, Magna Cum Laude
  • Haley Ann Bond
  • Colin Patrick Busbee, Cum Laude
  • Courtney Kay Campbell, Magna Cum Laude
  • Kaileigh Drummond Collins, Magna Cum Laude
  • Amanda Bethany Crayne
  • Bre’Anna Nicole Crockett
  • Jared Thomas Cvetko, Magna Cum Laude
  • Megan Renee Davenport
  • Jordan Ashley Day, Cum Laude
  • Drusilla Blain Dellinger
  • Erika Christine Drutis
  • Alexander Stephen Eisenschmied
  • Christen George Hanna, Magna Cum Laude
  • Elizabeth Brooke Harrelson
  • Marwa Ahmed Hassan
  • Brianna Gabrielle Hill, Magna Cum Laude
  • Christopher Scott Hutto
  • Alisabeth Kelly Irizarry
  • Michael Anthony Jenkins II, Cum Laude
  • Allison Elizabeth Shaw Landreth, Magna Cum Laude
  • Sarah Danielle Lankford
  • Kelsey Kay Maynard, Cum Laude
  • Ashley Irene McNeill
  • Kaitlynn Nicole Messer
  • Vasilia Pardalakis
  • Vrunda Jigneshkumar Patel, Cum Laude
  • Marissa Drew Pettit, Magna Cum Laude
  • Khadijah L’Shae Posey
  • Shelby Key Powell
  • Amanda Rose Bryant Reed
  • Melissa Renee Rogers
  • Xavier Dajuan Shuler
  • Claire Louise Stuckey
  • Mark Goodman Suddreth, Magna Cum Laude
  • Brittany Nicole Thomason
  • Adam Reynard Willie
  • Caroline Grace Witmer, Cum Laude
  • Amy Elise Wortkoetter, Summa Cum Laude

See More here.

And here.

And The College of Arts & Sciences Commencement here.