by Sarah Mummert, Student Public Relations Writer
When Cedarville University began pursuing a school of pharmacy in 2009, Phil and Pam Black were foundational to what has become one of the leading professional pharmacy schools in Ohio.
Fifteen years later, with hundreds of graduates serving in professional pharmacy careers, the Blacks’ investment in Cedarville’s program continues with the establishment of the Phillip S. and Pamela J. Black Pharmacy Scholarship. This $220,000 endowed scholarship will provide two $5,000 annual scholarships for pharmacy students.
Phil Black remembers speaking with Dr. Paul Dixon, former president and current chancellor of Cedarville University, during a dinner event at the university. In discussing the future of the university, Black suggested starting a pharmacy program, which would launch Cedarville graduates into a new sphere of influence and ministry.
Already owning two pharmacies and operating a home health business, Black became an influential leader in laying out the plans for the school of pharmacy.
He spoke to Dixon about the missional aspects of the field of pharmacy, saying, “You have people coming in the front doors of your pharmacy, and they are seeking your help. It’s a perfect opportunity to tell them about Jesus. It’s a natural combination.”
Last year’s recipient of the Phillip S. and Pamela J. Black Pharmacy Scholarship was Benjamin Tarwater, a second-year student in the doctoral program.
“The scholarship the Black family graciously gave me has been a blessing to me, and I am very thankful,” Tarwater said. “I truly was honored to be chosen.”
To receive the scholarship, the pharmacy recipient must demonstrate a passion for loving and serving others through the profession of pharmacy.
Tarwater has a mission focus for the work that he does, especially as his family once served as missionaries. He speaks fluent Spanish and has been able to care better for some of his patients by interpreting for them at some of his past introductory pharmacy practice experience (IPPE) sites.
“Benjamin is a hard worker and a focused person, not just in pharmacy, but in life in general,” Black said. “He has a burning desire to make a difference wherever he serves, and we are thrilled to be a part of his life moving forward.”
And Tarwater isn’t the only one whose life the Blacks have touched — there have been others, and there will be more.
When Black was working with Cedarville University leaders on getting approvals for the pharmacy program, one of the many boards of approval asked why it mattered to have another pharmacy school in Ohio, since there were already six pharmacy schools in the Buckeye state.
Black’s response was as stark and to the point — Cedarville University’s School of Pharmacy wouldn’t be your typical pharmacy school.
Cedarville prepares competent professionals who bring a compassionate, biblical perspective to their profession. Graduates have a high pharmacy licensing test pass rate and are competitively placed in residencies.
“Our program is not only turning out graduates who will serve in chain drugstores in the U.S., but also internationally,” he said. “Our graduates do research and impact their surrounding community all over the world. They’re a different breed of pharmacist.”
Living out his own passion for medical missions, Black has worked with International Needs for 15 years, going on short-term trips with them. This year, he will head to northern Ghana for a 10-day trip, to provide health care to around 3,500 people.
Phil and Pam Black were Cedarville University’s Honorary Alumni of the Year in 2016.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is a Baptist university with undergraduate programs in arts, sciences, and professional programs, and graduate programs. With an enrollment of 5,456 students in 175 areas of study, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio and is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including its Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), and high graduation and retention rates. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.