OXFORD, Miss. – Drug retailer Walgreens has given $50,000 to support the UM School of Pharmacy. The gift will help with costs for the new pharmacy practice building, to be constructed on the Univeristy of Mississippi Medical Center campus in Jackson.

“Walgreens has a long-standing partnership with the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy,” said Tonya Shackelford, a Walgreens district manager who is also an Ole Miss Pharmacy alumna. “Many Ole Miss Pharmacy students intern with Walgreens through our summer internship program and go on to work for us full-time. Ole Miss graduates are an asset to our company and the profession. Walgreens is dedicated to advancing the field of pharmacy, and the new School of Pharmacy practice building will certainly help us do that.”

The new 26,000-square-foot building will not only provide essential facilities to meet the needs of students and faculty, but it will also allow the Pharmacy School to address the critical shortage of trained pharmacists in Mississippi by allowing for an increase in enrollment in the professional pharmacy program.

The building will feature technology-driven classrooms and research space for students, faculty, residents and fellows. A student lounge will be provided, as well as space for professional associations.  A presence on the UMMC campus will foster interdisciplinary collaboration with health care practitioners, faculty and students.

“We are most grateful for this generous gift from our friends at Walgreens,” said pharmacy dean Barbara Wells. “Excellence in pharmacy education requires corporate partners who see the big picture, have a grand vision and understand the importance of their role in building a better world for students, for the profession, and most importantly, for patients. By sharing their vision, expertise, world view and financial resources generously, Walgreens enables us to become more than we are. They help us to rise to new heights.”

Walgreens is the nation’s largest drugstore chain and last year donated more than $9 million in educational assistance to thousands of student pharmacists.

Walgreens’ gift is part of the university’s MomentUM campaign, a four-year initiative to raise $200 million. Funds raised through the campaign, which ends in December 2008, will support scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty support, a basketball practice facility, residential colleges and a new law school on the Oxford campus. Also in the plans are a cancer center at the UM Medical Center and a new building to house the School of Pharmacy, both in Jackson.

For more information on the School of Pharmacy, visit http://www.pharmacy.olemiss.edu/

By Sonia Thompson