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It All Matters: The Impact of Giving
It’s probably no surprise that when I arrived at the UIC College of Pharmacy in 2007, I knew very little about pharmacy. My focus was squarely on my job, fundraising, and, to a large degree, it still is. But in the years I’ve been here I’ve met with thousands of alums, and I’ve learned a great deal about the business of pharmacy. And what I’ve realized is pharmacists don’t need philanthropy, they ARE philanthropy. Pharmacists give back daily. People who are drawn to this profession want to help, to heal, to give back in some way. I see it every day in grand gestures and a million smaller, but no less important ways.
Press releases are written when people like Herb and Carol Retzky donate the largest gift our college has ever seen to create a Philanthropic Leadership Award and now the Herb and Carol Retzky Deanship. Speeches are given about the power of an endowed deanship, and how it will help us recruit quality leadership and create change in the world of pharmacy. And rightfully so. These are milestone achievements by committed alums that will affect the college in perpetuity. They are a sea change. They divide time into before and after. They usher in a new way of doing business. Gifts of this size and impact just don’t happen that often, and so we tout them to anyone who will listen.
The unfortunate side effect is that shouting often drowns out the sound of our daily heroes: alums who give back in so many other ways like precepting, mentoring, guest lecturing or volunteering on one of our various boards. People who give of their time and talents are the fuel that powers the College of Pharmacy on a daily basis. People like Tom Westerkamp. Tom not only did a guest lecture to the Dean’s Leadership Forum, but, spurred by a story in our alumni publication, he also rallied former ICHP Presidents to endow a scholarship for needy students at UIC College of Pharmacy.
We attempt to level that playing field a bit, to say thank you to all alums for their contributions of any size. But we know we can never do enough. Because it all matters. It is all important. Everything you do for us makes a dramatic difference to the life of the college.
My time here has been incredible. I feel privileged to work with such compassionate, giving people on a daily basis. You are forever showing me new ways of giving. And for that, I thank you. Your support makes a real difference in our students' lives. Your generous gifts provide bright, promising, hard-working students with opportunities to fulfill their educational goals and make their own mark on the world.