ETSU Gatton College of Pharmacy welcomes Class of 2027

Published 12:27 pm Monday, August 21, 2023

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JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy welcomed its Class of 2027 with a White Coat Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 18.

Of the members of ETSU Gatton College of Pharmacy’s Class of 2027, nearly two-thirds are from within 150 miles of campus, and almost a third are from a rural area. More than a third are first-generation college students, and half of the class are Tennesseans.

“Our college was founded in 2005 by a need in the community for highly skilled pharmacists, and subsequently our mission is to train progressive, team-oriented pharmacists who go back to serve rural and underserved communities,” said Dr. Debbie Byrd, dean of the College of Pharmacy and interim dean of the College of Nursing. “With that goal in mind, it is fitting that so many of our student pharmacists matriculate from those same rural areas and are the first in their family to attend college – and the Class of 2027 is no different.”

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The Class of 2027 will be the first in the college’s history to benefit from $2.5 million in annual funding approved by the Tennessee General Assembly earlier this year. Thanks to the efforts from the region’s local legislative delegation, tuition at the college is now 30% less than before for in-state students and 15% less for out-of-state students.

It’s a significant decrease for students over the course of the four-year PharmD program. For in-state students, the tuition cost has decreased over $46,600; for out-of-state students, over $22,600. In addition, the state funding will go toward bolstering the college’s scholarships by $720,000, which will help lower costs even more for future students.

“Starting a professional school program can be a difficult transition for students with all backgrounds and prior experiences, and as a first-generation student coming from a rural area, there are a lot of uncertainties and questions that follow,” said first-year student Ally Hanson, from Sparta, North Carolina, who is part of the college’s Early Admission Pathway program.

The college’s Early Admission Pathway is for high-achieving high school students choosing to attend ETSU or current first-year students at ETSU. They can start their pharmacy career early and finish a Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Pharmacy in six years, saving time and money.

“That’s why I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities that the Early Admission Pathway and the incredible team at Gatton have offered me thus far,” said Paige. “The newly lowered tuition has also made this a smoother transition for me as the stress of financial burden has decreased.”

With five health sciences colleges and more than 40 health sciences programs, ETSU offers a robust combination of academic programs and patient-care facilities that elevate interprofessional experience in health care education.