TALLAHASSEE — The Crestview campus of Florida A&M University graduated its first class of 21 students awarded the Doctor of Pharmacy. The ceremony was the result of the effort of the late Senator Dr. Durell Peaden, who wanted to build a school of pharmacy in his hometown of Crestview.
The popular country doctor mapped out the plan on the back of a napkin. And though he did not live to see his dream come to fruition, he was successful in establishing a pharmacy school branch campus, in a journey that began eight years ago. Originally named the Rural Diversity Healthcare Center, it is now called the Durell Peaden, Jr. Education Center.
North Okaloosa County is one of many rural communities that lack adequate healthcare and the professionals who deliver service. Those educational opportunities are not available there, and Senator Peaden was an advocate of improving needed healthcare to communities like his.
Another bonus of the branch campus was that the graduates did not have to leave home. As a remote learning center, technology brought instruction into their classrooms. The success story boasts the employment of the vast majority of graduates, most of them placed in the region, allowing them to serve communities in need.
The FAMU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is ranked among the nation’s top tier pharmacy colleges.