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USC-MUSC pharmacy school graduates first class

The South Carolina College of Pharmacy makes history this spring as it graduates its first class -- 183 students in the integrated University of South Carolina and Medical University of South Carolina pharmacy school.

The two schools joined in 2004, bringing together the resources of a major academic medical center and a large comprehensive university. The idea was to leverage the resources of the two colleges of pharmacy to create a college on par with the best in the country.

“During the past four years, we have implemented one of the best curriculums in the U.S.,” said Joseph T. DiPiro, executive dean of the South Carolina College of Pharmacy. “We are the program of choice for hundreds of applicants; our research productivity is up; our facilities have been improved, and many of our faculty and students have received national awards and recognitions.

We have exceptionally strong partners in health care organizations, and we are attracting top faculty. Not all of that is directly attributable to the integration, but it is clearly working to our advantage. The proof is the caliber of the young men and women we are sending into the profession as SCCP graduates who are USC or MUSC alumni.”

The chance to work with a larger pool of top-quality professors stood out for many of the graduating students.

"We’re given so many more opportunities and able to learn from truly some of the best specialty pharmacists,” said Laura Broom, a student on the USC campus from Harrisburg, N.C. “For example, there are few pediatric pharmacists on the USC campus, so I greatly benefited from being able to learn from Drs. (Kathy) Chessman and (Sandra) Garner, both MUSC professors, while on the other hand MUSC students had the privilege of being taught by great infectious disease professors like Dr. (Scott) Sutton."

Randall C. Rowen, dean of the USC campus, said the integration of the two schools was a step into new territory.

“There really wasn’t a precedent for something like this so we didn’t always know what to expect. Integrating the two colleges was a bold decision made at an opportune time,” Rowen said. “I know that most students we honor at graduation will say they are proud to be a graduate of the first class from South Carolina College of Pharmacy.”

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