For a glimpse into the heart of a family, there is no better way to see what matters than to witness one generation giving advice to the next. In a rite of passage that held special meaning for several such families, members of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (SOP) Class of 2014 got their white coats in a ceremony on Aug. 27.
It has become a University of Maryland (UM) tradition for alumni to write notes of advice that are tucked in the newcomers' pockets. The experienced hands share tips on how to succeed and how to make it through a challenging stretch. The notes brought an unexpected personal touch to the ceremony for all 161 members of the class but carried added emotion for two incoming students.
Adam Shimoda, son of Matthew Shimoda, PharmD, a 1984 graduate, and John Dolan, son of Walter Thomas "Tom" Dolan, PharmD, a 1974 graduate of the School, discovered their notes had been prepared by their own fathers. Their dads were present in the rows of parents, mentors, and others who cheered on the students in the auditorium of the Medical School Teaching Facility.
Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, dean of the School, welcomed members of the Class of 2014 as they enter "one of the most rewarding careers in health care."
The guest speaker was John Lewin, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, who is division director of critical care and surgery pharmacy at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a UM School of Pharmacy preceptor. As such, he works with students during the course of their studies. Lewin spoke of what it means to devote themselves to "a lifetime of service to loved ones," reminding them that others hold dear the unknown people who will be their future patients.
Distributing the white coats were Lauren Angelo, PharmD, MBA, and Jeffrey Gonzales, PharmD, BCPS, who are assistant professors of pharmacy practice and science. Also playing key roles in the ceremony were Francoise Pradel, PhD, class advisor and associate professor of pharmaceutical health services research, and Jill Morgan, PharmD, BCPS, associate dean of student affairs.
UM Pharmacy 2010 White Coat Ceremony from UMB news on Vimeo.
When Adam Shimoda pulled his note out of the envelope, he recognized his father's handwriting. As a child, he had occasionally accompanied his father to work when Matthew Shimoda had his own pharmacy in Anne Arundel County. Now the family lives in Westminster, Md., and the elder Shimoda holds a position as pharmacy manager and immunization coordinator, SuperFresh Pharmacies. He also serves as a SOP preceptor.
The advice, his son said, was to pick the right specialization. "Whatever the path, make sure you enjoy it most of the time" so the career in pharmacy will be rewarding. "Make sure you're in it for the right reasons."
John Dolan, who represents the 11th generation of pharmacists or doctors in the Dolan line, said finding the note was a surprise that brought "joy tears" when he read the words of congratulation and good luck.
It was handwritten not on stationery but on the back of a prescription form that Tom Dolan, who was in a wheelchair, had gotten that very morning for a medical device for his leg. Said the elder Dolan, owner of Millsboro Pharmacy, Inc., in Millsboro, Del., "A pharmacist should always have a prescription."