College of Pharmacy inducts new class of students in white coat ceremony

August 18, 2017 | Pharmacy |


The College of Pharmacy welcomed its newest class of students into the program Friday, Aug. 18. The class of 2021 received their white coats in a ceremony marking the beginning of their journey to becoming pharmacists.

The ceremony was addressed by College of Pharmacy alumna Dr. HyeJin Grant, who currently holds the position of clinical coordinator at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. In her address, Grant connected everything in her experience to relationships, and encouraged the incoming class to put patient’s needs before their own and to show interest in and learn about other people.

“Relationships can teach you things that you won’t learn in school,” Grant said. “If there is no relationship, then there is no trust, you have to be open and curious to build a relationship.”

Dr. Jeff Mercer, dean of the college, shared that he believes these students have chosen an honorable profession and that this day was the culmination of a lot of hard work.

“I hope that they find this truly meets their desire to serve others,” Mercer said. “I hope that they find a wonderful profession but also a vocational way to serve others through that profession.” I think Christianity and pharmacy education go hand-in-hand because serving others is not only what being a Christian is all about but also what being a pharmacist is all about.”

This class welcomed the largest number of Harding undergraduate students since the program’s founding in 2008 with 16 students.

“I am very excited about that,” Mercer said. “The good thing is they are very well trained, very well prepared. They understand the Christian mindset of education, and I think they are perfectly suited.”

Searcy, Arkansas, native Natalie Stirrup is entering her first year in the pharmacy program. She was naturally drawn to Harding because her family is from the area, and she has watched the pharmacy program grow, which piqued her interest. Stirrup hopes to make a difference upon completing her degree.

“It’s scary, for sure. There is a lot of unknown and unexpected, but at the same time I’m excited and enthusiastic about what’s to come,” she said. “From this day, they like to tell us that this is the beginning of becoming a pharmacist — on this day you are a pharmacist.”




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