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Marilyn Howard Kirking and Phil Mayer, with expert help from Rosa Mejia-Cruz, Director of Alumni Relations, organized a Zoom 45th Reunion for the UKCOP Class of 1976 on Friday, January 22, 2021 at 7 pm. Rosa provided a welcome page for the class as they signed on, along with the class graduation photo and a map of where classmates are currently located, accompanied by 70’s music in the background. The last reunion for the Class of ‘76 was their 25th in Lexington, in 2001.

Phil welcomed 25 classmates and Dr. Bill Lubawy and Director Mary Beth Neiser and Assistant Director Kacie Miller of the UKCOP Philanthropy group. Classmates participated in an icebreaker set of questions, which included what their primary practice experience was. It was nearly equally split: Community (37%), Health-System (32%), and Industry/Other (32%). Of the classmates present, 80% are now retired, 10% work part-time, and 10% work full-time. At least nine members of the class (87 total) owned a pharmacy. 68% of the attendees said that all of the following were most valuable in their career: communication/soft skills, classwork/knowledge, and practical training. 35% of the class eventually migrated back to their hometowns—and the other 65% “got the heck out of Dodge!” Finally, since members are now senior citizens, maybe the most relevant question (!) was “How much gray hair do you have?” It was fairly evenly split (low to high) between 1) Do you mean for what little hair I have? 2) None that isn’t colored! and 3) Too much to even estimate!

Marilyn shared photos of the 11 classmates that had passed away since graduation. She then asked each person to share about their family, work or retirement, which resulted in a wide range of experiences and memories being shared. Classmates at the 2 ½ hour Zoom reunion were BJ Addington, Susan Flowers Carpenter, Allen Carr, Sonny Clark, Marshall Davis, Diana Hopkins, Laura Hume Fleener, Marilyn Howard Kirking, John Knoop, Brent Lykins, Danny Mattingly, Phil Mayer, Mike Mills, James Nicks, Steve Potts, Jimmy Dale Roy, Cheryl Atkinson Sansom, Tom Shively, Sarah Swift, Gene Thompson, Mary Ann Emberger Thompson, Theresa Uthe, Ralph West, Kristie Gregory Wilson, Prof Bill Lubawy.

A second Zoom call was held on Wednesday, January 27 to accommodate classmates who missed the previous Friday call. Bob Bronner, George Piltz, Jane Bramlet Roberts, Mary Porter Kolb Sutherland were joined by Laura Fleener, Marilyn Kirking, Phil Mayer, Cheryl Sansom, Sarah Swift, Mary Ann Thompson, Kristie Wilson and Prof Bill Lubawy.

While no contact information was available for 14 classmates, the Class of 1976 did a fantastic job of staying in touch with each other and the College of Pharmacy. They look forward to their 50th Class Reunion in 2026. Almost everyone on Zoom was interested in having another Zoom call in another year or so.

We wish to remember and honor those who inhabited this Commonwealth before the arrival of the Europeans. Briefly occupying these lands were the Osage, Wyndott tribe, and Miami peoples. The Adena and Hopewell peoples, who are recognized by the naming of the time period in which they resided here, were here more permanently. Some of their mounds remain in the Lexington area, including at UK’s Adena Park.

In more recent years, the Cherokee occupied southeast Kentucky, the Yuchi southwest Kentucky, the Chickasaw extreme western Kentucky and the Shawnee central Kentucky including what is now the city of Lexington. The Shawnee left when colonization pushed through the Appalachian Mountains. Lower Shawnee Town ceremonial grounds are still visible in Greenup County.

We honor the first inhabitants who were here, respect their culture, and acknowledge the presence of their descendants who are here today in all walks of life including fellow pharmacists and healthcare professionals.