URI establishes scholarship for Black pharmacy students

THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND has received a $50,000 donation from alumnus Dr. Kenneth Lawrence to establish a scholarship for qualified Black students or for students from other underrepresented populations to study to become pharmacists. / COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND

SOUTH KINGSTOWN (AP) The University of Rhode Island has received a $50,000 gift from an alumnus to establish a scholarship for qualified Black students or for students from other underrepresented populations to study to become pharmacists.

Fewer than 5% of all pharmacists are Black, the university said in a statement this week, citing information from Pharmacy Times.

The scholarship established by the donation from Dr. Kenneth Lawrence, who graduated from URI’s pharmacy program in 1990, is named the Robert and Birdie Lawrence Endowed Scholarship in honor of his parents.

“Pharmacy is not a job; it’s a career, and it is something you have to work extremely hard on, especially if you’re African American,” Lawrence said in a statement. “The disparity in this country still exists. There is an implicit bias toward students of color; there are always different expectations. I hope this gives some students an increased chance of having a successful career.”

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Lawrence, who spent 20 years as a clinical pharmacist before moving into pharmaceutical development, currently serving as senior director of Seres Therapeutics in Watertown, Massachusetts.

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