In opening remarks, Presbyterian College President Bob Staton told the audience, “I’m most excited about the impact these young people will have on their communities.”
The ceremony was highlighted by a keynote address from Dr. Marie A. Chisholm-Burns, dean and professor of the University of Tennessee’s Health Science Center College of Pharmacy and professor of surgery in the College of Medicine.
“Each of us has the ability to produce real magic in our lives,” Chisholm-Burns told the graduates. “Graduates, align yourself with your purpose and hold onto your principles.”
Chisholm-Burns has previously served as department head of pharmacy practice and science at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy and served on faculty for 13 years at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy.
Dr. Chisholm-Burns received her Bachelor of Science in psychology and general studies (emphasis in biology) from Georgia College, Bachelor of Science in pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from The University of Georgia, Masters of Public Health from Emory University, and Master of Business Administration from the University of Memphis. She completed her residency at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy and at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Ga.
Chisholm-Burns is founder and director of the Medication Access Program which increases medication access to transplant recipients. She has also served in numerous elected leadership positions in several different professional organizations, has worked in multiple pharmacy settings, and is a member of the National Academies of Practice. She serves as a member of government organizations, such as the Food and Drug Administration. With more than 285 publications and approximately $10 million in external funding as principal investigator from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and several foundations, she is a prolific scholar.
“Be a student,” Chisholm-Burns added. “Always be willing to learn. Every person you meet has something to teach you.”
Chisholm-Burns’s address was followed by an address by John Mark Dias, II, distinguished graduating student for the class of 2017.
“Eventually all the graduates will become great pharmacists,” Dias told his peers. “Your Pharm.D. brings you one step closer to being legendary pharmacists.”