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The new 15,000-square-foot Knoxville campus for the UT Health Science Center’s College of Pharmacy (COP) will increase the number of pharmacists entering the job market in East Tennessee.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opened the campus to the first set of Knoxville-based pharmacy students. By completing their advanced coursework and clinical studies in East Tennessee, officials anticipate many of these students will stay in the area to fill positions for much-needed pharmacists.

“Expansion progress for the College of Pharmacy is marked both in growing numbers of students, and in today’s celebration,” said UT President John Petersen. “This progress is particularly important to the university, because it tangibly represents how we are fulfilling our commitment to statewide health care delivery.”

Each COP class has 200 students, who all complete the first year of their studies at the UT Health Science Center campus in Memphis. Seventy-five students from each class will spend their final three years of pharmacy school on the COP’s Knoxville campus. In addition to the new students, 19 faculty and staff members have been hired for the Knoxville COP campus.

The Memphis and Knoxville operations are connected by a unique videoconferencing link that will allow students in both locations to participate in lectures and classroom discussions. Some classes will be led by professors in Knoxville, while others will be led from Memphis.

“Our goal is to create a truly statewide college,” said COP Dean Dick Gourley. “This technology allows us to provide a strong educational experience while dramatically increasing our impact across Tennessee.”

Many of the Knoxville-based COP students are originally from East Tennessee and plan to remain in this part of the state to practice pharmacy, either in a community pharmacy or hospital setting. This will lead to a direct economic benefit to the region, according to COP officials.

A recent study showed that the average UT COP graduate made more than $92,000 upon graduation. Additionally, 75 percent of COP graduates stay in the state of Tennessee after they complete their studies.

Other statewide operations for the COP include the UTHSC Memphis campus, as well as clinical rotation sites for students in 37 different counties across the state. In addition, the COP has clinical education centers in Nashville and Kingsport, with plans to open other sites in Chattanooga and Jackson.

As the flagship statewide academic health system, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is focused on a four-tier mission of education, research, clinical care and public service, all in support of a single goal: to improve the health of Tennesseans. Offering a broad range of postgraduate training opportunities, the main campus, with its six colleges, is located in Memphis. For more information, visit www.utmem.edu.


Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)
Sheila Champlin (901-448-4957, schampli@utmem.edu)