On behalf of the entire student body, thank you for your support and participation.
The reason behind what the students do ...
Very few people have the ability to touch the hearts of many. Even fewer have the ability to transpire their legacy to those who never had the opportunity to meet them. Dr. James Robertson Jr. was one of those rare people. Robertson, a founding dean of the Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, strived to give the very best to, and thereby inspire, the students he served. His humble, approachable, and charismatic manner led him to fully accomplish his professional goals, and beyond. That beyond can be evidenced in the continuous desire and efforts to keep his memory alive, building a legacy that both touches, and beats in, the hearts within the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy community.
The passing of Dr. Robertson was a tremendous loss. But instead of mourning that loss silently, the students of the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy feel joyously compelled to keep the memory of Dr. Robertson alive, especially for those who did not have the opportunity to experience the living energy of a man who exuded warmth, respect, and a passion for sharing knowledge. It is with that compulsion in the hearts and minds of the students that, one year ago, a student-driven committee came together, with the help of a few staff mentors, to find a creative way to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Robertson. The committee decided that an endowed scholarship in Dr. Robertson’s name would be the best way to honor a man who himself could never stop giving to the students he served.
Defining the memories the students shared with the committee about Dr. Robertson were such terms as professionalism, laughter and ambition; therefore, an annual 5K event, named as the Ties & Tennis Shoes Memorial Fun Run, seemed to playfully align with the mentality of Dr. Robertson, and showcase the playful, professional (ties), playful (tennis shoes), and driven (competitive endurance run) nature of Dr. Robertson to the community, especially to new students.
The event would also serve to raise the necessary funds to endow the scholarship in Robertson’s name. The planning of this bottom-up memorial run was a considerable undertaking for the student-driven committee, as it required them to raise at least $50,000 to meet the endowment status, and begin to award scholarships to the students. However, Ms. Brittany Bateman, the 2014 chair for the committee and a current fourth-year pharmacy student, said: “The simple memory of Robertson was the only motivation the committee needed to never lose sight of the goal.” Bateman describes Robertson as, “one of those people that made you feel special after just interacting with him for a short few seconds.”
In the opinion of Richard Ramirez, a second-year pharmacy student and this year’s committee co-chair, Dr. Robertson’s legacy is truly captured by the Ties & Tennis Shoes Memorial Run because it “brought together all the staff, faculty, and students, it was just unfortunate that Robertson was not there to see it.” While Ramirez was unable to meet Dr. Robertson, he feels certain about how special Robertson was to the students, mostly due to their support for and attendance at the first event.
In 2015, a new committee, mostly composed of students who never had the opportunity to meet Dr. Robertson, are continuing the Ties & Tennis Shoes Memorial Run as an annual tradition. Shannon White, this year’s co-chair and second year pharmacy student, said: “Seeing how highly motivated last year’s committee was to reach their goal and how the event brought together the community to honor Robertson,” was the reason she wanted to continue the student-driven committee to plan this year’s run.
This year’s committee will build on top of what last year’s committee started, by collectively deciding to continue support for the memorial fund; by striving to become leaders of the pharmacy profession; and by creating a new fund to grant opportunities for students to participate in interprofessional educational experiences, taking part in an innovative model to help increase the effectiveness of the health care system in the United States by encouraging competent health care professionals into interprofessional collaboration. White discussed that this decision was based on Robertson’s legacy of professionalism and his desire for students to be the best that they can be in the profession of pharmacy.
Robertson’s appreciation of pride in his profession, his humanity, and his keen eye in recognizing the leaders of tomorrow within every student, has solidified his legacy as a revered individual, not only to the students in his classroom, but to the students in the classrooms of the present and the future.
It has been more than two years since the passing of Dr. Robertson, a mentor and a dear friend. In his wake, he left colleagues, students, and future leaders proud to be in the pharmacy profession, and driven to honor his name. This year, the first Dr. James Robertson Jr. Memorial Scholarship was awarded to a Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy student; ties and tennis shoes will be knotted; students will set themselves at another starting line of their lives; runners will race at the beat of another man’s heart; and the leaders of the future will rush through doors Dr. James Robertson Jr. helped open, ready to take their profession to new heights.