Ferris State University is the place JoLaine Draugalis began her celebrated career in pharmacy. It also is the place her husband asked her to marry him.
Draugalis, who will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Business and Industry from Ferris during commencement ceremonies at 7 p.m. Friday, May 4 in Big Rapids, graduated in 1976 from Ferris’ School of Pharmacy. She is originally from Battle Creek, Mich.
During a recent driving tour around Michigan, she and her husband, Paul (B.S. Pharmacy, 1974), stopped in Big Rapids.
“We visited Hillcrest Apartments, where my husband proposed to me, and the pharmacy school, which looks much different now,” said Draugalis, who still keeps in touch with her roommate and contemporaries in the pharmacy field with Ferris connections.
Draugalis, who also holds a Master of Education degree with a major in Educational Psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Pharmacy from the University of Arizona, has served as dean of the College of Pharmacy, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, since 2007. She also holds the David Ross Boyd Professorship.
Her research focuses on pharmacy education program design, administration and evaluation. Her research program is concerned with determining how resources, curricula and academic programs are administered in pharmacy education as well as pursuing the definition, evaluation and reward structures of the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Her many honors include the American Pharmacists Association’s Gloria Niemeyer Francke Leadership Mentor Award; the University of Arizona’s Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize for Teaching; and the American Pharmacists Association’s Research Achievement Award in the Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Receiving the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s Distinguished Pharmacy Educator Award is her point of pride.
“I was the first woman to ever receive it and also the first associate professor,” she said. “It meant a lot to me.”
Her service to her profession includes serving on the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Board of Directors from 2004 to 2006 and as its president from 2004 to 2005.
During her studies at Ferris, Draugalis was appreciative of faculty and staff members who made earning her degree enjoyable.
“Whether it was taking the time to visit during office hours to have a discussion or if they were an impressive lecturer, they made an impact,” she said.
She was close to her fellow Pharmacy School classmates.
“We did a lot of studying together,” Draugalis said. “We studied hard, played hard … we had many euchre tournaments in the dead of winter.”
She continues to meet many people in her field with Ferris connections.
“A lot of people in pharmacy, whether they’re in industry, practice or academia, are Ferris graduates,” Draugalis said. “My degree has taken me a long way. I’ve always felt very proud of my pharmacy education. It’s a fine degree in and of itself, but it also prepares you well for additional pursuits.”
More than 1,300 of 1,700 Ferris students who are candidates for degrees will participate in spring commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5.
Graduates will be honored during five ceremonies: On May 4 at 3:30 p.m. for the College of Allied Health Sciences and at 7 p.m. for the colleges of Arts, Sciences and Education, Pharmacy and Professional and Technological Studies; and on May 5 at 9 a.m. for the Michigan College of Optometry and the College of Education and Human Services, 12:30 p.m. for the College of Engineering Technology and 4 p.m. for the College of Business.
Also receiving Honorary Doctorates will be Rick DeVos, a social entrepreneur from Grand Rapids, Mich. best known as the founder of ArtPrize; and Brent Knight, president of Lansing Community College in Lansing, Mich.
Ceremonies for the ticketed event will be held in the Convocation Center in the Ewigleben Sports Complex. Guests without tickets may watch the ceremony via a live stream on the Commencement Web site: ferris.edu/Commencement.
Ferris’ Kendall College of Art and Design will hold its commencement ceremonies at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 5 at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids. About 270 students will receive degrees.