Above: Fred Wilson, for whom the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy is named, is pictured in the front and center of HPU’s first pharmacy students.
HIGH POINT, N.C., Aug. 19, 2016 – The Fred Wilson School of
Pharmacy at High Point University held its first White Coat Ceremony for its inaugural class tonight as the academic school officially opens. With 60 students, it’s the only pharmacy school in the Piedmont Triad.
Honorary white coats were presented to HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein and Provost Dr. Dennis Carroll for their dedication and spearheading of the program. Fred Wilson, for whom the school is named, and Tom Menighan, CEO of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and keynote speaker at the event, also received honorary white coats.
The ceremony reflects a physical, academic and cultural transformation at HPU, including tripling enrollment, growing campus from 92 to 430 acres and adding four new academic schools.
“Pharmacy schools are rare,” Qubein told the students, whose family members filled the Wanek Center Cinema. “But we went forward with gumption and faith that we could build this school. We hired fine faculty and a dean with an exceptional background. And here we are. You, students, are in a field of service committed to helping others ensure they’re healthy and their lives are long. You are an ambitious part of our future.
Qubein also thanked Wilson for tremendous support of the project. Wilson is chairman of the board of Piedmont Chemical Industries, Inc. including five companies with plants in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
“This school is about your studies, but also about being inspired by the name on the building,” Qubein said. “Inspired that you, too, could grow a business and accomplish tremendous things and be a leader like Mr. Wilson.”
Dr. Ron Ragan, dean of HPU’s pharmacy school, told the students they’re entering a campus that embraces change, opportunity and innovation.
“Dr. Qubein is one of the reasons I relocated from the University of Kansas to High Point,” Ragan said. “He transformed this university. He’s the reason we’ve had the opportunity to build this first class and an innovative future for pharmacy. HPU has developed a blended, rigorous curriculum to help students prepare for the highly team-based environment of health care.”
Menighan works in Washington, D.C. to help pass important regulation in the world of pharmacy. He reminded students that the oath they took to provide compassion and care to all patients is a lifelong commitment.
“Never forget you are here because of two things – gratitude and service,” he said. “This ceremony signals your foot in the game of health care, and your entry into our profession will make a difference in how we go on to serve. I hope that years from now you remember making this commitment, and you remember that it is a good and important one. Patients are counting on you.”
The students will use renovated and redesigned classroom space until the $120 million Congdon School of Health Sciences and Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy facility opens in late spring of 2017. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, prestigious faculty and newly designed curriculum, the schools create a cornerstone for medical innovation at HPU.
About HPU’s first pharmacy class:
-Representing 12 states
-Majority of students hail from North Carolina
-50 percent female, 50 percent male
About the White Coat Ceremony:
The white coat, worn by medical professionals, is often seen as a symbol of authority, purity, professionalism, caring and trust. Since its inception in 1993, the White Coat Ceremony has become a national and international phenomenon among medical schools. The ceremony was designed to welcome new medical students into the medical profession and alert beginning students to the need to balance excellence in science with compassionate patient care. It has since been adopted by hundreds of colleges and universities involved in the education and training of a variety of health and medical professions, including the physician assistant.