Connection is Key to Corporate Partnerships

One of the College’s most rewarding partnerships is with a pharmacy employer. A symbiotic connection happens between the two, because they share a common goal – providing valuable support for students during their academic journeys.

“We are tremendously grateful for the generous support we receive from our corporate partners,” said Kate O’Reilly, Senior Director of Development. “Their contributions directly enable us to provide enriched learning experiences for our students, through funding for research, travel to academic conferences, and access to the latest technologies. In turn, these partners gain valuable exposure and connections within our community. Their engagement signals a shared commitment to developing the next generation of passionate, knowledgeable leaders in the field. Together, we are creating an environment in which students and employers thrive. We deeply appreciate these collaborative relationships and the shared vision of progress they represent.”

Among the many corporate partners with the College are Kroger and Walgreens, two engaged employers who have been generous in their support. Chuck Page ‘86, Health and Wellness Leader for Kroger Health, remarked, “The investment in someone’s life is a wonderful thing! Our company’s mission statement is ‘Feed the Human Spirit.’  In applying that principle to pharmacy, providing financial support and building a relationship that fosters success is very satisfying.” 

Kroger Pharmacy sponsored Pharmtoberfest, a College of Pharmacy health fair and health information event held for UGA and the local community. Pictured are: Dean Kelly Smith ’92, ’93; Russell Seagraves ’99, Kroger Pharmacy; Dee Dee McEwan ’99, Kroger Pharmacy; Hairy Dawg; Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz; and Chuck Page ’86, Kroger Pharmacy.

Dr. Jennifer Duckett ’04, Healthcare Supervisor for Walgreens, noted, “Walgreens believes that students are the future of the pharmacy industry. Pharmacists play a crucial role in providing accessible healthcare to patients who may not have access to knowledgeable professionals. We are committed to supporting the growth and development of pharmacy professionals who will provide care now and in the future. It is crucial to invest not only money but also time in the development of students across schools of pharmacy.”

The relationship is personal for Dr. Duckett. As an alumna, she is passionate about her alma mater.  “I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to work with UGA CoP on behalf of Walgreens,” she remarked.  “It is an honor to give back to the college that has contributed so much to my professional career. It fills me with pride to work alongside pharmacy students who are graduating from such a robust program. Giving back to schools of pharmacy is of utmost importance if we, as pharmacists, want to see our profession grow and stay relevant.”

Page echoed her remarks.  “To be in a position to give back to my alma mater, which invested so much in me, is the ultimate gift.”

Page also shared the evolution of the Kroger-College of Pharmacy partnership. “Our relationship started many years ago with my predecessor, David Leitch ‘73, who also is an alumnus. David had a vision that a partnership from Kroger could help support the students and maybe relieve some of the burden or barriers that arise from the costs of a college degree. Our partnership has grown significantly over the years and has allowed us to branch out into different areas of support.”     

Pictured: 5 of the 10 students who receive scholarship support from Publix

He added, “The role of the student is front and center and the reason this partnership is so important. If we coach, teach, and train these future leaders to work hard and be successful, then our job is complete. It’s very satisfying to watch the students grow in their careers and become leaders in many capacities.”  

Summarized Dr. Duckett, “Pharmacy students are the future of the profession. We welcome feedback from students and tailor programs to help them become leaders and innovators in the field. I am excited to see how our collaboration will continue to grow and innovate to develop future pharmacists.”

“We are extremely thankful for the generous support we receive from corporate partners such as Kroger, Walgreens, CVS, and Publix,” said Dr. Duc Do, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. “Their contributions directly enable us to provide critical scholarships, as is the case of CVS and Publix. Partners such as Kroger and Walgreens offer enriched learning experiences for our students, through funding for research; travel to national conferences for learning and research opportunities; and student-oriented events, such as orientations, the White Coat and Pinning Ceremonies, and a spring graduation reception.”

The College aims to work closely with corporate partners to explore custom engagement opportunities that align with company goals, maximize investments, and deliver value for both students and partner organizations. These include, but are not limited to, the Homecoming Tailgate, UGA receptions at state and national conventions, and additional needed scholarships.

If interested in exploring partnership opportunities, contact Gordon Thomas, Major Gifts Officer in the College’s Development and Alumni Relations Office.  “We welcome the chance to collaborate on preparing future leaders in the pharmacy profession,” said Thomas.

Walgreens sponsored a study break for students at the end of fall semester 2023.  Standing (l-r) are Dr. Jennifer Duckett, PharmD ’04, Healthcare Supervisor of Walgreens; Dean Kelly Smith; Dr. Duc Do, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs; and Michael Troidl, RPh, a Walgreens Registered Store Manager in Alpharetta.

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