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July 29, 2013

ULM professor named Pharmacist of the Year

University of Louisiana at Monroe's Anthony Walker was named Pharmacist of the Year by the Louisiana Pharmacists Association (LPA).

"My desire to serve is the driving force behind this accomplishment," said Walker, an assistant professor in ULM's College of Pharmacy.

"I'm most honored to service my patients, my community, my profession, my students, and my family."

The Pharmacist of the Year Award is given in recognition of Outstanding Service to LPA and the Profession of Pharmacy.

According to their web site, LPA strives to better inform the public about pharmacy practices and addresses issues pharmacists face in order to maintain the overall well-being of Louisiana pharmacists and the communities they serve.

ULM College of Pharmacy Dean Benny Blaylock said, "Dr. Walker does everything with the utmost integrity, insuring that everyone around him is treated fairly, honestly and with respect. He is a gifted speaker, presenting lectures with enthusiasm in addition to accuracy. Dr. Walker also consistently displays a willingness and eagerness to 'go the extra mile,' whether in the classroom, laboratory or in the pharmacy professional world outside the College of Pharmacy."

LPA notified Walker that he would be considered for an award without revealing which award it would be, asking only for his resume and all his yearly accomplishments.

"This award is one of LPA's prestigious honors, given during the president's banquet, the last evening of LPA's annual convention. I didn't know that my award would be for Pharmacist of the Year," Walker said.

"Words cannot express how humbled I am to have received this award. I am so thankful to my professional friends and colleagues who nominated me for it. I am honored to serve alongside each of them."

Blaylock said, "Dr. Walker being named Pharmacist of the Year is not only a testimony to his professional excellence, but is an outstanding example of the level of excellence found in our faculty in the College of Pharmacy and throughout the university."

Walker's position as a ULM faculty member keeps him busy. "When I'm not working in the lab," he said, "I try to work on committee projects within my college. My role as advisor for the Academy of Student Pharmacists requires never-ending assistance with organization and facilitation of their community health projects. As my elders used to say, 'Sometimes, I don't know whether I'm coming or going.'"

"Nevertheless," he said, "I love what I do!" He considers working alongside the Academy of Student Pharmacists both an honor and his favorite aspect of working for ULM.

He considers learning to teach the new generation of students – whom he calls "Generation Y" – the most rigorous challenge of his professional career.

"I had to get past the methods that I used to learn, as a student, and how I was taught in the traditional classroom," said Walker.

"I have found better ways to reach students in the classroom. If we are able to reach the student, we can teach the student."

Walker attributes his interest in pharmacy to his wife, Beverly M. Walker, who works for ULM Pharmacy Internal Operations. "We were both practicing medical laboratory scientists with a burning desire to do a little bit more," said Walker.

"Beverly first went through the pharmacy program at ULM while I worked full time as an MLS. After she graduated in December of 1994, we reciprocated. I graduated from pharmacy school in December of 1998."

Over the next few years, Walker hopes to see students thrive in his classrooms. "I always pray that our students learn to the utmost of their abilities," he said.

"In the profession that I teach and love, human compassion and empathy are necessary components. This is what I wish for in my professional students."

Blaylock said, "It is always gratifying to see deserving people recognized for their hard work and professional accomplishments. Dr. Walker is certainly most deserving of this honor. Having Dr. Walker as a professor, colleague, and friend makes the College of Pharmacy a great place to educate future pharmacists."

Walker has been a member of the ULM faculty since 1999 when he was first hired as a Poison Information Specialist.

He received two B.S. degrees in Medical Laboratory Science and Pharmacy from ULM then went on to obtain his Doctorate of Pharmacy degree in 2009 from Shenandoah University, Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy, Winchester, Va. He grew up in Clayton, La.

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