Caring Connections: How scholarship support inspires next generation of pharmacists

Class of 2024 PharmD grads supported by caring hearts

Dymond Robinson, PharmD ’24, knew she wanted to be a pharmacist as early as eighth grade. A friend’s mother was a pharmacist, and she found the ability to help others with medications fascinating.    

Classmate Tate Coleman, PharmD ’24, was also introduced to the field at a young age. He, too, had a family friend who was a pharmacist and, at 18, was hired for his first job as a Kroger Pharmacy technician.

Robinson and Coleman, spring graduates of the University of Cincinnati James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, are driven by their passion to help others.

The newly minted pharmacists are grateful for those who supported their educational journeys, sharing that scholarships have been vital to their success. Earning a PharmD degree is rigorous, requiring seven to eight years of study, and scholarships alleviate financial pressure, allowing students a well-rounded experience. This support has led to significant achievements, including Robinson and Coleman’s residencies, which will commence this summer. Robinson will be working at UC Health West Chester Hospital, while Coleman will be at the University of Kentucky Healthcare.

An early passion for health care

Tate Coleman wearing commencement robe.

Tate Coleman, PharmD ’24. Photo/Provided.

Robinson and Coleman were drawn to pharmacy by their desire to help others.

“I just fell in love with the impact that pharmacists could make,” Coleman says. “I think they’re the most accessible health care provider there is.”

He plans to pursue a critical care role in an intensive care unit, saying, “There is such a high impact pharmacists can make.”

A high school volunteer role at a nursing home cemented Robinson’s desire to pursue her PharmD.

“I discovered I wanted to help patients obtain the best outcome,” she says.

After completing her residency, Robinson wants to work in ambulatory care, where she can provide services in an outpatient setting. 

Scholarships made it possible

Dymond Robinson in white coat

Robinson points out that she nurtured her love of helping others by receiving help herself. Several scholarships, including a UC scholarship funded by the Harold Waller Charitable Foundation, created to honor Harold Waller, PharmD '58, alleviated financial stress. This support allowed her to participate in volunteer opportunities, including the UC Pharmbassadors, UC Open School, Student National Pharmacy Association, and St. Vincent de Paul.

“It is a really good feeling that people are willing to give back and help me achieve wonderful things in life,” Robinson says with a smile. “In addition to that, their money not only goes to helping me, but it goes towards helping all the patients I’m going to help. All of their money and contributions are going to impact hundreds if not thousands of lives.”

Connecting with donors

Tate Coleman in white coat.

Coleman is the recipient of the Christy Griffith Mulberry Scholarship Fund created to honor Mulberry, PharmD ’05, who died in 2013 from complications from a brain tumor. Her close friend and classmate, Dina Kennedy, PharmD, BCPS ’05, created the fund to honor Christy, a dedicated pharmacist, wife, friend and mother.

Kennedy and Christy’s husband, Dustin Mulberry, her children, and parents continue to meet scholarship recipients and attend scholarship celebrations at the college.

It’s a close connection that Coleman doesn’t take for granted.

“It made it extremely personal to meet Dina and Dustin,” he says. “Hearing the story behind my scholarship was so valuable, as well as learning the impact Christy had on others.”

Kennedy and Mulberry appreciate meeting recipients.

“I am so happy to see the tangible impact that Christy's scholarship is making by empowering recipients like Tate in advancing their careers and contributing to our communities,” Kennedy says. “Knowing that we are playing a small role in shaping the future of pharmacy professionals is incredibly rewarding. Having met Tate, I know that Christy would've been humbled to see that this scholarship in her honor is investing in the future of pharmacy and health care, and we look forward to continuing to support and celebrate his achievements in the years to come!”

Love for UC

As Robinson and Coleman take a breath before beginning their residencies, they reminisce about their time at UC and the College of Pharmacy. Robinson hopes her sister, a high school student, to follow in her footsteps.

“The College of Pharmacy is a place where anyone can find their home,” she shares. “There are so many organizations and so many faculty still practicing, and they are always willing to help you.”

“I enjoyed my time at UC so much,” smiles Tate. “I would not have traded the experience with anything.”

“The college is the only one I toured. Once I met the dean and faculty, I knew I would be happy here.”

Featured image at top: University of Cincinnati’s James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy. Photo/Colleen Kelly/UC Creative + Brand.

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