Commencement 2014: URI Graduate following in family’s Pharmacy footsteps

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Presque Isle, Maine resident Matt Talbot to become part of family business

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 31, 2014 – At first glance, Matt Talbot seems like your average pharmacy student. He is enthusiastic about his major, excels in academics, and thoroughly enjoys his classes, especially pharmacology and therapeutics. However, there is something about Matt that makes him unique.

“When I’m done, I will actually be the fifth generation pharmacist in my family. There was my great-great grandfather, great grandfather, grandfather, my dad and now me. I guess you can say it kind of runs in my blood,” Talbot said.

Even though he comes from a family with more than 100 years of pharmacy experience, he said there was no pressure from his family to pursue pharmacy. In fact, Talbot knew as early as his sophomore year at Presque Isle High School that he wanted to pursue pharmacy.

Although Talbot was also accepted to the University of New England, URI’s exceptional six-year pharmacy program won him over. “It’s the best College of Pharmacy in New England,” said Talbot.

Talbot chose the University for a few other reasons. “When I came to visit, I absolutely loved the area. Up where I am, we are not close to the beach, so that was a nice attraction” said Talbot. The campus environment was also a major selling point, “The campus is beautiful. It wasn’t too big either, about 11,000 to 12,000 students was perfect for me.”

He also has family connections to the University. His grandfather, Joseph Talbot, was originally from Pawtucket and was a member of the URI class of ’58. Having strong family connections to URI has only increased Talbot’s drive for success.

After officially becoming a Rhody Ram, Talbot became involved with many campus activities and groups. He played intramural ice hockey and was a member of the Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity. Talbot was also inducted into Rho Chi, the pharmacy honor society that inducts students in the top 20 percent of their class. Although Talbot was involved on campus, he says his main focus was always on pharmacy, “I knew that pharmacy wasn’t going to be easy so I wanted to focus on that.”

He still says today that getting accepted to URI’s pharmacy program was one of his biggest accomplishments. In 2008, Talbot was one of more than 1,400 applicants to the program, competing for one of the coveted 90 spots. “I knew the pool that I was competing against and when I finally got in, that was huge,” he said.

Talbot was one of a few students approached by Kelly Orr, a clinical associate professor at URI, in hopes of reviving the National Community Pharmacists Association student chapter, an organization that represents independent community pharmacies. The group started out small and received guidance from Scott Campbell, former co-owner of Ocean Pharmacy in Charleston and URI alumnus from the class of ‘77.

Talbot was eventually elected president of the URI chapter, which among other activities, helps educate people about drug disposal, enables students to network with local pharmacy owners, and participates in legislative efforts to further independent pharmacy. “The number of students in the chapter grew from around five to six students to about 20 or 25 students by the end of my first term. The chapter is going strong now,” Talbot said.

Talbot has met many great people inside of the pharmacy program; “I really lucked out within my class to find just a solid group of friends that I could really connect with. And I have lived with many of them since sophomore year.” Talbot not only enjoys the teachers and students inside the URI pharmacy program, but he is also grateful for the other friends he has made along the way. “As much as I like the pharmacy part of URI, meeting a lot of people outside of the pharmacy program was really nice as well,” Talbot said.

Even though Talbot will be moving back home to Maine after graduation, he says he will definitely return to Little Rhody, “If I wasn’t headed back to Maine, I could definitely see myself down here. I definitely plan to visit once I’m back home.”

Talbot has big plans for his future. His main plan consists of eventually purchasing the two family pharmacies, City Drug Store in Presque Isle, Maine, and Ashland Drug Store in Ashland, Maine, from his father, Doug. He plans on adding a number of new services to the business with the hope of building a new location in the future.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” says Talbot. He believes it will take more than 10 years to accomplish this goal, but he is confident that he can and will succeed.

Talbot feels well prepared to take on the future. URI and his two mentors, his father Doug and pharmacist John Hebert, have been instrumental in Talbot’s confidence moving forward in his career.

This press release was written by Ashley Henry, a communications major interning in URI’s Marketing and Communications Department.

Pictured above

Matt Talbot, in the URI Pharmacy Building

Photo by Michael Salerno Photography