Community Spirit Shines During Founders Day
Published on 19 November 2019
On Nov. 8, St. Louis College of Pharmacy students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered to celebrate Founders Day. This annual event commemorates the College’s official founding in the hall of the St. Louis Medical College on Nov. 11, 1864. The tradition began in 2014 and has evolved into a day of celebration featuring community service, an annual convocation and alumni recognition.
“Founders Day is an opportunity for us to honor our history as the first school of pharmacy west of the Mississippi River,” stated John A. Pieper, Pharm.D., FAPhA, FCCP, president of the College. “We enjoy coming together as a campus community for a day of service and celebration.”
The Founders Day activities kicked off with members of the College community volunteering their time as part of the annual STLCOP C.A.R.E.S. (Community Awareness Reaching Everyone in St. Louis) event. This year, approximately 750 students, faculty, staff and alumni spent the morning working at local professional and community service sites. Students in the pharmacy program provided free health screenings at local pharmacies and clinics, while faculty, staff and undergraduate students lent their time and talents at charitable organizations across St. Louis.
“I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local homeless shelter for women and children, and the experience has reinforced my passion for health care,” explained sophomore RaeAunna Martinez. “We were there to sort donations, but we met a few clients, too, and it put a human face on a population that I don’t normally encounter. When I become a pharmacist, my goal is to work with underserved populations to improve the health of the whole community.”
Following STLCOP C.A.R.E.S., the Founders Day festivities continued with a campus lunch and a convocation featuring guest speaker Chris Zimmerman, MBA, president and CEO of business operations and alternate governor of the St. Louis Blues. Zimmerman highlighted the team’s exciting run for the Stanley Cup and spoke of the resilience and teamwork that led to the team’s victory. He also addressed the importance of community spirit in achieving success, noting the spirit of community at the College reflected in Founders Day.
The convocation also featured the presentation of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards. Those recognized included:
- Evan Robinson, B.S. ’88, M.S. ’93, Ph.D., who received the Outstanding Achievement Award
- Clint Bohannon, Pharm.D. '10, who was presented with the Young Alumnus Award
- Jessica Kerr, B.S. ’00, Pharm.D. ’01, who was recognized with the Dedicated Service to the Profession Award
- Matt Carlisle, B.S. ’82, who received the Dedicated Service to the Community Award
As in years past, Founders Day once again served as the official kickoff to Reunion, which was held on Nov. 9, and gave alumni the opportunity to reconnect with their former classmates and reflect on their time at the College. This year’s reunion featured special recognition for class years ending in 4 and 9. Those in attendance took part in the Gold Alumni Luncheon and Ceremony, campus tours, continuing education and an evening reception.
Throughout Founders Day weekend, members of the campus community demonstrated their generosity by taking part in the Founders Day Giving Challenge. This year, 163 alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the College donated a total of $29,325 to benefit the Founders Day Fund, which supports student-focused initiatives that encourage community, innovation and philanthropy by providing students with emergency aid, engaging students in educational and professional experiences beyond the classroom and extending scholarship support to students.
“Year after year during Founders Day, I continue to be amazed by the community spirit and generosity of our faculty, staff, students and alumni,” said Pieper. “Since its inception, Founders Day has continued to grow and its impact continues to help us build stronger bonds within our campus community and throughout the St. Louis region.”