College of Pharmacy Establishes Faculty and Staff Endowed Scholarship

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The College of Pharmacy has raised more than $29,000, exceeding the endowment goal of $25,000 for its Faculty and Staff Endowed Scholarship.

This fall, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy became the first among the six colleges on campus to establish and award a faculty and staff endowed scholarship.

Eighty-six percent of faculty and staff in the college contributed to the scholarship as of August 31. The college has raised more than $29,000, exceeding the endowment goal of $25,000.

Wade Dickerson, who is in his third year of pharmacy school, is the first recipient of the scholarship. He was chosen from an applicant pool of students who demonstrated financial need, academic aptitude, and involvement with the college and the local community.

“I have a dream that one day all of the students who are in financial need will have scholarship funds available to them,” said Marie Chisholm-Burns, PharmD, MPH, MBA, FCCP, FASHP, FAST, dean of the UTHSC College of Pharmacy. “We are the only college in the health sciences center who has a faculty and staff endowed scholarship. It was a first for this campus, and as always, the College of Pharmacy is eager to lead the way.”

Dr. Chisholm-Burns wanted to provide an additional way for faculty and staff to give back to their students. Although the UTHSC College of Pharmacy is the highest ranked, lowest cost among pharmacy schools in Tennessee, most students still require financial assistance through loans or scholarships.

Third year Pharmacy student Wade Dickerson was the first recipient of the scholarship.

“Honestly I feel extremely honored to be selected,” said Dickerson. “It makes a lot of sense to me that our faculty and staff would want to give back to our students. We have a very close relationship with our faculty and staff. It doesn’t surprise me that our college would do a scholarship of this manner.”

According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the average amount borrowed from 2017 graduates who attended a public institution is $136,328. Faculty and staff in the college wanted to ease pharmacy students’ financial burdens that may come with attending professional school, so that students can focus on their studies and be involved in the college through student organizations and public service.

Class of 2020 student Jason Breakfield, was instrumental in generating faculty and staff contributions for the scholarship. He spoke about the importance of scholarships to the college during a May faculty and staff meeting. He was asked by the dean to do this, and says he is grateful for the opportunity to be part of the successful initiative.

“I shared my story and talked about climbing student debt, financial burdens of professional school, and how the scholarships have helped me to worry a little less about finances and have allowed me to focus on my studies,” Breakfield said. “It was intimidating standing in front of every professor in the college, but I was happy to share my story and help the dean promote her initiative for a faculty and staff endowment.”

“Donating to the Faculty and Staff Endowed Scholarship is an easy way for the faculty and staff to give something back to the students,” said Chris Wood, PharmD, associate professor of Clinical Pharmacy. “Unfortunately, many of our students require financial aid to realize their dream of becoming a pharmacist, and student debt is at an all-time high. This will provide a great message back to the students that we support them.”

Below are images of the Pharmacy faculty and staff who contributed to the scholarship.