Students raise 33,000 for scholarships

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More than 300 community members, faculty, staff and students gathered for the first Ties & Tennis Shoes 5K Memorial Run/Walk at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy in the spring of 2014. More than 250 runners registered for the race.

The professional student pharmacists raised more than $33,000 through the event for the Dr. James Robertson Jr. Memorial Scholarship fund. The students had a goal of raising $20,000 to support efforts to reach presidential endowment.

“We are elated that we were able to surpass our goal,” said Brittany Bateman of Boerne, Texas, who was a third-year professional student pharmacist and chair of the Ties & Tennis Shoes committee. “We hope a student can receive a scholarship very soon in Dr. Robertson’s honor.”

Mike DaSilva, reporter for Kiii-TV, Channel 3, in Corpus Christi, served as the master of ceremonies for the event, which was co-presented by Corpus Christi Gastroenterology, P.L.L.C., and Kleberg Bank.

Robertson was considered a cornerstone at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. He died after complications from pneumonia on Nov. 21, 2012, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Robertson was more than just the associate dean for student affairs. He was a friend, mentor, leader and considered family to many of the students and faculty at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. He was an inspiration to the college and positively influenced countless students to strive for their dreams of becoming pharmacists.

“We were like his children,” said Amy Morrow, Pharm.D., Class of 2014. “He was committed to each and every one of us and saw the potential of what we could become individually and collectively. He supported us during difficult times, celebrated our accomplishments with us, and quickly became an icon of what a true professional is. If we can channel the natural sensitivity, display of fair-mindedness, innate intellectual acumen, and charisma that Dr. Robertson so profoundly manifested, we’ll have nowhere to go but up.”

As future health care providers and pharmacists, the professional student pharmacists at Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy hoped to bring awareness to this preventable condition and raise funds to support future students through the Ties & Tennis Shoes Memorial 5K Run/Walk.

“Those of us who had the privilege of knowing Dr. Robertson, will never forget him and feel very blessed to have had his guidance during our time here even if it was for a short time,” Bateman said. “We hope that this fun run will continue to honor him here each year and that future classes will come to know and appreciate who Dr. Robertson was and what he did for this school and this program.”

The mayor of Kingsville, Sam Fugate, and state Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, served as the starting officials for the race. Music was performed by Mathias (The Witness), Flashbang and Spanish Attack. Celanese powered the event festival which featured the Driscoll Children’s Hospital KidZone, CVS/Caremark Spirit Booth, Walgreens Cultural Diversity Booth, food booths stocked with donations from Sprouts, Wing Stop, LaraBar and many others and water stations from Everest. AEP, Texas and Mike Shaw Toyota both sponsored the start and finish line while Deleon’s Pharmacy provided mile markers along the route.

The overall winners of the race for the women were first place Monique Mejia, second place Jill Thomas of Houston and third place Anna Brozick, Pharm.D., assistant professor and director of Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy.The overall winners for the men were first place Andre Fuqua, second place Hunter Balzen of San Antonio, and third place Geoffrey Sanford.

Next year’s event is planned for February 2015.