Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation CEO and owner Lou Kennedy and husband, Bill Kennedy, the company’s chief business development officer, delivered the keynote address at the 2022 white coat ceremony for the College of Pharmacy at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).
The invitation-only event, held Aug. 12 in the auditorium of MUSC’s Drug Discovery Building, is an annual tradition. During the ceremony, 61 incoming pharmacy students were presented with their first white coats, the symbol of clinical service and care.
Philip Hall, Pharm.D., dean of the MUSC College of Pharmacy, introduced the Kennedys. “Lou and Bill Kennedy are two of the most dynamic figures in South Carolina pharmacy,” said Hall. “They are both outstanding role models for entrepreneurship, innovation and business acumen. The great success they have engendered at Nephron offers inspiration for all students entering our program.”
In their keynote, the Kennedys emphasized the need for the brightest minds and talented young people to continue to pursue careers as pharmacists.
“Pharmaceuticals has changed since my husband, Bill, graduated. There is unlimited potential for those who realize their own dreams are their only limits,” said Lou Kennedy. “You can be in academia. You can be in regulatory work for a body like the Food and Drug Administration. You can work in drug discovery and help us find new drugs to treat new illnesses or old illnesses, like cystic fibrosis, where a lot of great work is being done here at MUSC.”
Lou, who holds a degree in public relations, and Bill, a pharmacist by trade, have embraced that philosophy –combining their talents to spur Nephron to unprecedented growth. Today, the state-of-the-art pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in West Columbia employs nearly 2,000 people and is a leader in manufacturing generic respiratory medications. “I have used pharmacy in every job that I’ve had since 1966,” Bill Kennedy said. “And still use it every day, so pharmacy is a great education.”
He also encouraged the students to find opportunities to gain experience in other fields like retail, business and manufacturing. “The intersection of pharmacy, innovation and business is as fascinating as it is rewarding, and the work you have done has equipped you to explore this intersection – and we encourage you to do it,” Lou Kennedy advised the MUSC College of Pharmacy students. “When you do it in a collaborative environment with people you work well with, you’re going to make a difference – and make South Carolina proud.”
In closing, they offered their congratulations to the Class of 2026 and advised them to take the opportunity to give back.
“The opportunities you are about to be afforded will open doors for you, and the most impactful thing you can do beyond your day-to-day work is to afford those same opportunities to the next generation of aspiring pharmacists and pharmaceuticals manufacturers,” Lou Kennedy said.
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system, with a unique mission to preserve and optimize human life in South Carolina through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates more than 3,000 students in six colleges – Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy – and trains more than 850 residents and fellows in its health system. MUSC brought in more than $327.6 million in research funds in fiscal year 2021, leading the state overall in research funding. MUSC also leads the state in federal and National Institutes of Health funding, with more than $220 million. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.
As the health care system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest-quality and safest patient care while educating and training generations of outstanding health care providers and leaders to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Patient care is provided at 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and five additional hospital locations in development; more than 350 telehealth sites, with connectivity to patients’ homes; and nearly 750 care locations situated in all regions of South Carolina. In 2022, for the eighth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit muschealth.org.
MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets totaling $4.4 billion. The nearly 25,000 MUSC team members include a world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers, scientists, students, affiliates and care team members who deliver and support groundbreaking education, research and patient care.