New class joins pharmacy school
By DAVID E. MALLOY
HUNTINGTON — For Emily Lovins, four years wasn’t enough at Marshall University.
On Saturday, Lovins, a Kenova resident and Spring Valley High School graduate, joined 79 other new Marshall School of Pharmacy students donning their white pharmacy coats during a ceremony at the Memorial Student Center’s Don Morris Room.
“It means all of my accomplishments the last four years have paid off,” Lovins said. It also means “I have a long four years ahead of me.”
Dr. Kevin Yingling, dean of the School of Pharmacy, called the White Coat Ceremony “a time of celebration. It’s a time of accomplishment.” The transition from being college graduates to getting a four-year pharmacy degree will have many challenges, he said. “You will need skill, knowledge and compassion.”
It is the third year for pharmacy students to seek a four-year degree at Marshall. While 43 percent of the students are West Virginia residents, 28 are Marshall undergraduates.
Nearly half are women and they come from schools including Ohio State, Ohio University and Ohio University-Southern, as well as the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State University and as far away as Arizona State University.
Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, keynote speaker at the ceremony and Marshall graduate, said the students are in the midst of a community that’s embracing them.
“Congratulations are in order,” he said. “The day has finally come. Your dreams and aspirations are coming true. We’re proud of the school of pharmacy. I loved my experience at Marshall. I hope you do too.”
Williams urged the 80 pharmacy students to “exceed your expectations. You’ve been given extraordinary talents and abilities. Set the bar high.”
Donning the white pharmacy coat “means a lot to me,” said Alexis Townsend of Huntington, another Marshall grad. “I’m excited to start my journey to be a pharmacist. I’ve always liked science courses.”
“This is something I’ve been dreaming about,” said Jessica Blake of Junior, W.Va., and West Virginia University. “It’s one of the best days of my life. I’m excited to start training.”
Alex Mareske of Logan, W.Va., expects the next four years “to be tough, but hopefully fun.”
Liz Toney of Tampa, Florida, and the University of South Florida, grew up around medicine. Her dad, Dr. John Toney, was in the first class to graduate from Marshall’s medical school.
“I’m so excited to start school,” she said. Her interest in pharmacy came when she started taking science classes and saw the impact pharmacists have on lives.
“It’s a wonderful learning environment,” Dr. Toney said. “It’s first rate. It’s great to come back. The school has done phenomenally well.”
Putting on his white jacket for the first time represented the launching of a career for Joel Turley of Milton, a Cabell Midland High School and Marshall graduate. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to benefit the community.”
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