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Wegmans School of Pharmacy announces new Early Assurance Program for ECC Students

Article by: Michael Farrell

PITTSFORD, N.Y.—A new partnership between St. John Fisher College and SUNY Erie Community College (ECC) will offer two qualified students guaranteed acceptance into the Wegmans School of Pharmacy. While Fisher has partnered with ECC through a 2+2 agreement at the undergraduate level, this initiative marks the first time the College will offer a direct pathway to a doctoral degree program.

“We’re proud to partner with ECC to provide students with an opportunity to pursue a doctorate at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of the College. “Since the College’s inception, our mission has been to help students achieve their educational goals as efficiently and affordably as possible, and this program is a continuation of those efforts.”

Through the Pharmacy Early Assurance Partnership program, Fisher will offer admission to two eligible candidates from eight community colleges every academic year, totaling 16 guaranteed spots. In addition to ECC, participating colleges include Broome, Finger Lakes, Genesee, Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, Monroe, and Onondaga community colleges. Each college will identify students who have completed the appropriate prerequisite coursework and, based on their ability to satisfy the standard requirements for admission, the School will select two students for the guaranteed acceptance offer. 

“We at ECC share the same mission with the leadership of St. John Fisher College,” said ECC President Jack Quinn. “It’s about our students, their goals, and putting them in position to eventually ascend to the highest professional level. We’ve been doing that for Western New York students for decades, and this partnership will certainly provide another career-focused avenue for our college community.”

Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the School of Pharmacy offers a Doctor of Pharmacy program, and in partnership with Fisher’s School of Business also delivers a Pharm.D./MBA joint degree program. 

Since its opening in 2006, the School has graduated more than 550 students, who consistently outperform national averages on statewide licensure exams. In June 2016, students taking the New York State Part III Exam enjoyed a 100 percent pass rate; the only school in the state to do so. Additionally, the 69 Fisher students who took the 2015 North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination for the first time earned a 97.10 percent pass rate, exceeding the national average of 92.64 percent.

In addition to classroom and laboratory learning, 30 percent of the School’s curriculum includes experiential education components. Students participate in clinical rotations in a variety of health care settings in the Rochester area, and also have the opportunity to engage in medical missions and service trips to Montana, El Salvador, and India, among other places.

The College currently offers the Pharmacy Early Assurance Program to a select group of incoming freshmen who enter Fisher directly from high school, guaranteeing admission to the program after a minimum of two years of pre-pharmacy course work, provided they meet program requirements. The new agreement with community colleges extends that offer to students interested in transferring to the College. About 12 to 15 percent of students enrolling in the School come from community colleges with no prior enrollments at four-year institutions.

“Students enrolling in our pharmacy degree program coming from community colleges have been among our brightest, most successful graduates,” said Dr. Christine Birnie, dean of the School. “Through this initiative, we’re able to strengthen our partnership with community colleges and bring more students from the participating schools to campus.”

Since 1946, Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state’s SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC’s faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership. For more information, visit or call (716) 851-1ECC.

St. John Fisher College is a coeducational liberal arts institution located in Pittsford, N.Y. The campus is situated on 154 park-like acres—a beautiful setting for 26 modern buildings and a warm, friendly campus community of over 2,600 full-time undergraduates, nearly 200 part-time undergraduates, and over 1,000 graduate students. 

Founded in 1948 by the Congregation of St. Basil as a Catholic College for men, St. John Fisher College became independent in 1968 and coeducational in 1971. As it moves through the twenty-first century, the College remains true to its Catholic and Basilian heritage. The College now offers 35 academic majors in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, business, education, and nursing, as well as 11 pre-professional programs. Fisher also offers a variety of master’s and doctoral programs.

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