CHATHAM — Construction for a new student technology laboratory at Chicago State University can begin thanks to a $250,000 grant the South Side institution received earlier this month from pharmacy health care provider CVS Caremark.
It is the second largest grant the school's College of Pharmacy has received, according to its dean, Miriam Mobley-Smith.
There are 354 students enrolled in the pharmacy school at CSU, and 81 are slated to graduate May 17, Mobley-Smith said.
Third-year pharmacy student Alla Shelipi, 23, looks forward to graduating next year.
"I live close to the downtown area but I chose to come [to Chicago State] because it has a good pharmacy program," said Shelipi, who is originally from Ukraine and whose parents are doctors.
First-year student Katie Ferguson, 24, chose CSU instead of the pharmacy program at the University of Illinois at Chicago even though she lives in the west suburbs.
"I drive past UIC every day to come here," Ferguson said. "I heard a lot of good things about the pharmacy school, so I decided to try it out and I am glad I did."
Mobley-Smith said students at the College of Pharmacy are diverse.
"Chicago State has a predominately black student population but only 30 percent of the pharmacy students are black. The rest of the students are equally represented with 30 percent white and 30 percent Asian," said Mobley-Smith, who was a practicing pharmacist before joining CSU.
In a statement, CVS officials said they were glad to award the grant to CSU.
"CVS Caremark is pleased to support Chicago State University's College of Pharmacy and its mission to educate and train new generations of pharmacists," said Papatya Tankut, vice president of Pharmacy Affairs for CVS Caremark. "The CVS Caremark Student Center and Technology Laboratory will help ensure that students are prepared for success in a rapidly evolving pharmacy industry."