ACPHS is a close-knit community, and students and alumni alike share a special bond. There may be no group for whom this is more true than 10 students who graduated on May 13, 2023 from the satellite campus in Colchester, Vermont.
These students committed to a rigorous, accelerated pharmacy doctorate program in Spring 2020, just as COVID-19 was turning the world upside down. In November of that same year, ACPHS made the difficult decision to close that campus, faced with declining enrollment.
It was a double dose of the unexpected for the Vermont students. But they persevered.
“One thing this experience has showed me is that it truly is not about the hand you were dealt, but how you play it,” said Jason Fine, who spoke on behalf of the class during Commencement at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. “I am thankful that I had a group of resilient classmates to navigate these waters with.”
According to accounts from the students and faculty who guided them, they stuck together and supported each other even, in the words of graduate Avery Marcotte, as they had to learn “to home-school themselves through a doctorate degree,” with classes taught virtually.
Since its opening in 2009, the environment on the Vermont campus was always unique, according to Sandra Rosa, director of pharmacy practice experiences there.
“The original students had to band together to form their own clubs and societies and set the groundwork for the Vermont experience,” Rosa said. “Each class built on this foundation aided by the faculty and staff, forming a close-knit community unlike no other college campus.”
In a message to the Vermont graduates, ACPHS President Toyin Tofade commended them for their grit and urged them to always treat others with same kindness they have shown each other.
“Each of you is about to embark on a job or more training so you can help people when they may be at their most vulnerable, in need of medicine,” President Tofade said. “As you share the knowledge of pharmacy that you have acquired, I urge you also to show your customers and patients the compassion and kindness you have shown each other.”
Nearly 500 pharmacists have earned their doctorate degrees from the ACPHS Vermont campus.