Five University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy graduates created a local landmark on one of their West Tennessee pharmacies with an “Everywhere You Look, UT” mural.
Derek Holyfield, PharmD ’02, along with partners Jennifer Hopper, PharmD ’98, Greg Emison, PharmD ’02, Brian Whitby, PharmD ’05, and Kelly Weaver, PharmD ’04, founded a chain of eight pharmacies, collectively known as West Tennessee Pharms, with the aim of providing high-quality pharmaceutical care to patients in mainly rural, underserved areas.
“We all felt that it’s better to work together in our rural home areas than with big pharmaceutical chains,” Dr. Holyfield says. “Pharmacy should be about taking care of patients, not just making profits.”
The team of friends own Duncan’s Pharmacy in Dyer, Duncan’s Express Pharmacy in Trenton, Duncan’s Pharmacy of Greenfield in Greenfield, Cavalier Pharmacy in Alamo, Three Oaks Pharmacy in Medina, Raines Pharmacy in Bells, and Hometown Drug Company in Brownsville.
However, it is Kenton Drug Company in Obion County that shows the owners’ passion and pride for the University of Tennessee. The UT System selected it as home to the 36th mural in the campaign.
Dr. Holyfield attributes West Tennessee Pharms’ success to UT Health Science Center’s curriculum, culture, and connections.
“My big takeaway from UT Health Science Center was that I was capable of doing whatever I chose,” Dr. Holyfield says. “But, at the end of the day, the patients always come first.”
Dr. Holyfield hopes the 15-foot-wide mural on the side of Kenton Drug Company serves as an emblem of his UT pride and a reminder to the daily 4,129 passersby of the unique opportunities the university offers. Additionally, he hopes the reminder will encourage his fellow UT Health Science Center pharmacy graduates to join the campaign as well.
“Alumni are by far the most passionate partners. We have a lot of multi-generational alumni families that have murals,” says UT System Director of Marketing Ellie Dougherty, who heads the campaign to spread awareness of the UT System’s impact on Tennesseans.
The “Everywhere You Look, UT” campaign’s goal is to paint a mural in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties by 2030.
“The slogan promotes the fact that everywhere you look across the state of Tennessee, you will find a connection to UT,” Dougherty says.
The campaign is on track to cross the halfway point this fall. If all goes according to plan, there will be 48 counties with murals at the end of the year. (The difference between counties and number of murals is due to passionate UT friends paying for additional murals in their counties.)
“(UT) President (Randy) Boyd says he wants one of these murals in every county,” Dr. Holyfield says. “Well, there’s almost a pharmacy in every county with a UT Health Science Center pharmacy grad.”
To suggest a high-traffic, high-visibility canvas for a mural, visit everywhere.tennessee.edu. Costs for the first mural in each county are covered by the university.
This story was written by Courtney Brown and originally published in the Fall 2023 College of Pharmacy Magazine.