ATLANTA – The class of 2006 at Mercer University's Southern School of Pharmacy has set a record for academic achievement. For the first time in the School's history, nine fourth-year students have 4.0 grade point averages and will receive the R.C. Hood Award for academic excellence during graduation. One of these outstanding graduates, Adina Hirsch, stands out for her personal as well as for her academic accomplishments.
Hirsch's commitment to academic excellence became apparent even before she graduated first in her class from Yeshiva High School, Atlanta, in 1982. She attended summer school at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and took classes at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Ga., during her senior year of high school.
Soon after graduation, Hirsch traveled abroad, planning to spend a year experiencing Israel. Instead, she stayed for over a decade, during which she attended the Hadassah School of Dental Medicine and earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In 1994, Hirsch's family relocated to Oregon, where she "fell into" teaching. She taught children and adults at the Center for Jewish Learning, Eugene, Ore., and hosted seminars and lectures. This experience would prove beneficial a few years later, when she relocated to her hometown of Atlanta and began teaching Hebrew at her alma mater, Yeshiva.
According to Hirsch, "I took the job out of necessity, not realizing how much I would enjoy teaching. This love has followed me through pharmacy school. I enjoy giving presentations and even had the opportunity to give a lecture to the third-year pharmacy students this year."
Hirsch is not only a student, but also a single mother raising four children. She said, "Pharmacy school is very challenging and adding four children to the mix made it even more so. I had a lot of help from my parents, and my children got used to my being a student."
In fact, Aharon, Rina Leah, Naftalia and Ashira, ages 7-15, found it amusing that Mom had homework, too!
"My kids probably know more about medications than your average child," said Hirsch. "They have helped me study for exams and have become quite proficient at pronouncing some very difficult drug names."
Hirsch has overcome the challenges of being a full-time student, working and raising a family, and will graduate summa cum laude from the Southern School of Pharmacy on May 6 with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Along with receiving her degree, she will also bring home the School's highest academic honor, the R.C. Hood Award.
After graduation, the Atlanta mom will begin a pharmacy practice residency at Atlanta Medical Center, where she interned during her pharmacy studies. She plans to work as a clinical pharmacist, but hopes to return to teaching, either at a hospital or at a pharmacy school.
About Mercer University and the Southern School of Pharmacy:
Mercer University's Southern School of Pharmacy has a century-long tradition of excellence and a national reputation for producing outstanding leaders in the profession of pharmacy. In September 1981, Southern School of Pharmacy became the first pharmacy school in the Southeast and fifth in the nation to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) as its sole professional degree. The School also offers the Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences. Pharmacists from Mercer are currently practicing in 43 states and in several foreign countries.
Founded in 1833, Mercer University has campuses in Macon and Atlanta as well as regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County, Macon and Eastman. With 10 schools and colleges, the University offers programs in liberal arts, business, engineering, education, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law and theology. For 16 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Mercer University as one of the leading universities in the South.