Pharmacy graduate David Thomas John "TJ" Stimson does it all. He has worked as a pharmacy tech and as a teacher in a Christian high school. He plays several musical instruments at church and adds his guitar to the Pharmonics, the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy's in-house praise band. He’s a dedicated student with an overall 3.77 grade point average, though he says that he initially questioned his academic ability to succeed in the challenging environment of pharmacy school.
Not only did Stimson succeed, graduating magna cum laude, but he earned the respect and gratitude of his classmates for his willingness to help others. Describing him as a ‘servant leader’ who is approachable and understanding, Stimson seemed to be the natural choice to receive the 2018 Gregory Outstanding Graduate Award, according to his classmates and professors.
Presented at the school’s hooding ceremony prior to commencement by Mary Ann Blessing, daughter of Lloyd L. Gregory for whom the school is named, the award recognizes the graduating senior in the top 10 percent of the class who has demonstrated a continual devotion to faith and the desire to integrate faith into the practice of pharmacy.
Many of Stimson’s peers pointed to his unselfish act of sharing his personal notes and study guides with his classmates as an example of his dedication to helping others.
“I don’t know what compelled me to do it,” he noted in an essay, “I remember being reminded by faculty in orientation that as professional students, we were no longer in competition with each other, but should maintain a team-oriented mindset as we learn to serve others through pharmacy.”
The award comes with a check for $10,000 and the expectation that the recipient will continue to practice pharmacy for the Lord’s glory.
“I appreciate my classmates and the faculty for their part in shaping me to be the person that I am today,” Stimson said. He chose to attend PBA for its close-knit atmosphere, having felt “most drawn” to the school during his admissions interview.
Stimson has accepted a position with CVS and will be working as a community pharmacist in Ocala, Florida. His advice to new students is to work while they are in school so that they can apply what they are learning.
Aside from the Gregory Award, additional members of the 2018 graduating class were recognized with the following:
•American Institute of the History of Pharmacy Award: Ashley Kay
•American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists Senior Recognition Award: Aisha Shokoya
•American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Senior Recognition Award: Ashley Fahmy
•Cardinal Health Senior Award: Jinhee Lee
•CVS Health Distinction in Community Practice Award: Chelsea Harlan
•Facts and Comparison Award of Excellence in Clinical Communication: Ruvarashe Munyariwa
•GSOP Mission Service Award: Didrick Jean-Baptiste
•GSOP Servant Leader Award: David Thomas John Stimson
•GSOP Shining Light Award: AnneMarie Blake
•Lilly Achievement Award: Lissette Bauza
•Merck Graduate Award: John Weston, Aisha Shokoya
•Mylan Pharmaceuticals Excellence in Pharmacy Award: Elena Tkachuk
•Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: Felicia Chibante
•National Association of Chain Drug Stores Graduate Award: Trevor Vanscoy
•Pharmacy Practice Award: Nicole Lucia, Thi Ca Tran
•Phi Lambda Sigma Leadership Chapter Senior Award: Jinhee Lee
•Publix Community Engagement Award: Erica Alicea
•Pho Chi Academic Achievement Award: Rita Chamoun