Tom and Rachel Smith met as undergraduate students at UB, but it was a class they took as pharmacy students that truly brought them together.
“We lived in the same dorm—Goodyear Hall—on the same floor, but at opposite ends of the building. Rachel and I were only casual acquaintances until we entered into the pharmacy program,” Tom Smith recalled.
It was in a medicinal chemistry class where the chemistry between the future husband and wife became evident, according to Rachel.
The couple worked together on several student activities during their time at the school: Tom was a member of Kappa Psi and the student chapter of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA); secretary for the state Student Pharmaceutical Society; and class president during their third year. Rachel was a member of Lambda Kappa Sigma, president of the student APhA and co-editor of the yearbook. They both graduated in 1984 and began their highly successful careers.
The couple crisscrossed in their first internships and jobs. Tom began his career as an intern at Children’s Hospital, then went to work for Erie County Medical Center (ECMC); Rachel interned at ECMC, then accepted a position at Children’s.
Tom went on to establish his own pharmacy consulting business, where he reviews current processes and makes recommendations to assist in the overall client strategy, sets up pharmacy information systems, and implements systems intended to improve patient safety and promote seamless medication integration. Rachel is now the pharmacy operations manager at Kaleida Health, where she oversees the pharmacy information system, automated technology and the electronic barcode point of care medication administration system. Despite Tom's wish that she join him in his business, she is happy where she is.
The couple also has continued giving of their time and treasure to the UB pharmacy school since graduating. In 2006, Tom received the school’s Orville C. Baxter Award, which recognizes outstanding practicing pharmacists who demonstrate high ideals of professionalism and genuine concern for patients. Tom and Rachel also served on the committee for their 25th class reunion in 2009. They also have been members of the Willis G. Gregory Society—the school’s most prestigious giving society with annual fund gifts of $1,000 or more—since 2008.
Tthe Smiths committed to funding a patient assessment and counseling room in the Pharmacy Building.
“One of the reasons we have been involved with the pharmacy school is that we consider ourselves blessed to be able to do so,” Rachel said. “We feel the education we received at UB really prepared us to create careers that ultimately are unconventional compared to what most pharmacists do, and we want to share that with people. We want future pharmacists to be able to see and achieve opportunities beyond the traditional practice.”