UTHSC College of Pharmacy Holds Special Place in Couple’s Hearts

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David and Martha Shepard met as students at UTHSC and continue to give back not only to the College of Pharmacy, but locally and abroad by participating in medical mission trips. (Photo courtesy of Drs. Martha and David Shepard)

The UTHSC College of Pharmacy will always be a special place for Martha and David Shepard. After all, if their paths had not crossed as pharmacy students on the Memphis campus, the two would never have met.

She was a year ahead, earning a pharmacy degree in 1973. He followed, graduating in 1974. That was also the year they married. More than 40 years later, they continue to keep the College of Pharmacy close to heart.

The have established the Martha and David Shepard Endowed Scholarship. The couple also contributed $50,000 toward the construction of the College of Pharmacy Building, which opened in 2011 on the Memphis campus.

“Pharmacy has been very good to us,” Dr. David Shepard said. “We obviously met in pharmacy school. She and I both worked in order to be able to pay our way. I was the oldest of six, so my parents didn’t have the funds to send me. So, we remember those days. While in school, we both always had a job in a store. We feel very strongly about our school and it’s probably 10 times more expensive now as it was when we went to school.”

Their giving throughout the years has benefited many students, including third-year pharmacy student Megan N. Sensmeier.

“Receiving the Martha and David Shepard Scholarship is a true honor,” Sensmeier said. “Being an out-of-state student, the scholarship has greatly lessened my financial burden. As students, we are the future of pharmacy and we greatly appreciate alumni, like Martha and David Shepard, who went out of their way to contribute to the UTHSC College of Pharmacy. Alumni who are willing to invest in our education and success as student pharmacists are greatly appreciated.”

The Shepards not only give to the campus financially, but by educating students at the Dickson Apothecary, a pharmacy they purchased in 1981 and transformed from 45 prescriptions per day to a high-volume pharmacy serving the Dickson, Tennessee, community. The couple worked hard to make the business successful. “We didn’t get a salary until the note was paid for. Martha worked full time at the store and I would come in at night to relieve her and then also work weekends,” Dr. David Shepard said. At the time, he worked full time at the VA Hospital in Nashville.

Dickson Apothecary serves as a clinical education site not just for UTHSC pharmacy students, but as a preceptor program for students from pharmacy schools across the state. The couple also own the Kingston Springs Pharmacy, which opened in 2006.

“It was always fun to have students in the pharmacy,” Dr. Martha Shepard said. “Students always kept me on my toes. They were always so energetic and kept us on the cutting edge of whatever they were learning in school, too. So the pharmacists learned a lot also.”

And pharmacy runs in the family. Two of his younger sisters are pharmacists, Donna Shepard and Susan Shepard. Susan and their niece, Leslie Shepard (CoP ’10), continue to run Community Pharmacy Care, Inc., the business the couple established decades ago. Today, the Shepards maintain their pharmacy license to participate in medical mission trips and to step in to work at the family business if needed. And to think, it all started with the UTHSC College of Pharmacy.

This story is from the most recent issue of Pharmacy Magazine