School of

Professional Dedication Ceremony welcomes new class to UMKC School of Pharmacy

For more than 135 years, the UMKC School of Pharmacy has educated health care professionals and scientists to serve the public and the pharmacy profession.

A new class of future pharmacists and researchers was reminded of that mission as students participated in the annual Professional Dedication Ceremony on Oct. 2.

Traditionally an on-campus event to welcome new students and parents, the ceremony had a different look this year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But a virtual, online format still drove home the same message.

In a recorded message, third-year pharmacy student Emily Montgomery shared how the role of pharmacists across the country has been vital to battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Pharmacists act in the community as advocates, educators, innovators, immunizers, all while being readily available to best serve our patients,” Montgomery said. “Being one of the most readily available and accessible health care providers to our communities is truly a privilege.”

The ceremony recognized each Class of 2023 Pharm.D. and Doctor of Philosophy student as their name was announced during a slide show with their photos. Prior to the ceremony, School of Pharmacy Dean Russell Melchert, Ph.D., sent each student a congratulatory letter to go with their white coat.

Melchert, in a recorded address, highlighted many of the school’s recent accolades. The school has earned regional and national recognitions for outstanding achievements in education, leadership, community engagement and cutting-edge research in spite of the ongoing pandemic.

 “These past few months have been a testament to our students’ resiliency as they have been tested, both personally and professionally, through the many challenges that have come with the pandemic,” Melchert said. “We've had to remain focused amid significant change and sometimes tremendous chaos. The School of Pharmacy faculty and staff applaud your efforts and will continue to support you as you work to serve others and find solutions to our most pressing problems.”

Immediately following the recorded ceremony, the students joined pharmacy faculty and staff in a live Zoom session for a post-ceremony celebration that included a toast to the students by Steve Stoner, associate dean for student affairs.

The students also received a video of faculty and staff offering encouragement, support and their congratulations on beginning the careers at the UMKC School of Pharmacy.

Published: Oct 9, 2020