Craig Sartin considers himself fortunate for the many rewards life has given him, and now he is giving back through scholarships to help University of Mississippi pharmacy students.
After graduating from the UM School of Pharmacy in 1979, Sartin found he had entered a profession that offered unprecedented opportunities to serve others. At the same time, the communities across the Mississippi Gulf Coast – his home for more than 40 years – have supported his pharmacy endeavors.
To express his appreciation, Sartin made a gift to Ole Miss, establishing the Sartin’s Discount Drugs and Sartin’s Vital Care Pharmacy Scholarship Fund, which will help aspiring pharmacists from Harrison County.
“If I can help students achieve their goals of becoming pharmacists, that will bless me as much as this gift will bless them,” said Sartin, a longtime donor to both the School of Pharmacy and Ole Miss athletics. “I struggled to make ends meet when I was in college, so maybe this will ease the burden they have and allow them to focus on their studies.
“Everything I am today and the things I have been able to accomplish come from God, first and foremost, but pharmacy, and in particular my training at Ole Miss, have opened the door for everything in my life.”
His rewards are the result of hard work. Growing up on a farm about 25 miles west of Columbia in Sartinville, Sartin worked holidays and weekends to help pay his college expenses. His work ethic impressed Dr. Hansel Janet, who gave Sartin a loan to open his first pharmacy in 1983.
Five years later, Sartin’s Vital Care opened and was one of Mississippi’s first home infusion centers. The business is now operated by his son, Evan Sartin, who earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences in 2013 and his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2016, both from Ole Miss.
A few years later, Craig Sartin and a partner opened another home infusion business that he continues to own and operate.
“To see a patient’s face when you walk into their home with the medication to relieve pain or infuse life-saving drugs; well, that cannot be measured,” he said. “I have always said, ‘To keep it, you must give it away.’
“I believe I have a moral obligation to help people financially, emotionally and spiritually, and I cherish those opportunities.”
Donna Strum, interim dean of the School of Pharmacy, is grateful for Sartin’s commitment.
“It’s people like Craig Sartin who truly make the profession special with a selfless and caring attitude,” Strum said. “His gift has strengthened pharmacy education in our state and will make a positive impact on our students.”
After decades of devoted service, Sartin’s retirement plans are starting to include more leisure travel. However, he plans to continue advocating for the profession by working with attorneys, legislators and various organization on pharmacy issues.
“Pharmacists are a special breed,” he said. “There is a reason we rate so very high in professionalism and respect. Most of the pharmacists I know will help you as a patient or a friend at the drop of a hat. We should be proud of our profession and try to pass that on.”
Sartin and his wife, Linda, are parents of two grown children, Whitney and Evan.
Individuals and organizations can contribute to the Sartin’s Discount Drugs and Sartin’s Vital Care Pharmacy Scholarship Fund, by mailing a check, with the fund noted in the memo line, to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655, or give online at https://give.olemiss.edu.
For more information on how to support the School of Pharmacy and its students, contact Sally Rychlak, associate director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662.915.3084.
By Whitney Tarpy