Nancy G. Mikell, R.Ph. was recognized with the MUSC Honorary Alumnus Award at the 2017 White Coat Ceremony, held August 17 at Baruch Auditorium on the campus of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The ceremony, which welcomed the MUSC College of Pharmacy Class of 2021 and commemorated the start of their pharmacy education, featured Mikell as keynote speaker.

The White Coat Ceremony capped a week of Orientation activities for the entering class. The first day of classes for the MUSC College of Pharmacy followed on August 22, 2017, the day after Charleston was America’s last stop in the Path of Totality of a total solar eclipse. Welcome, Class of 2021. 

In the ceremony’s keynote address, Mikell told the first-year students they had chosen a good career, noting that emerging drug therapies made it an exciting time to go into pharmacy. She said there were four traits the students would need to succeed in pharmacy:

  • Be flexible
  • Care about their patients
  • Think outside the box
  • Develop their network

Given the success of her own career, she must have used these principles herself. Mikell served the pharmacy profession for more than 40 years, including 24 years in a variety of leadership positions at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. She retired from the VA as director of pharmacy service in 2006.

“Many of our MUSC pharmacy alumni have had the opportunity to do a rotation with Nancy at the VA and know first-hand what a difference she made in their pharmacy education,” said Philip D. Hall, dean of the MUSC College of Pharmacy. “She’s been a good friend to the College as a leader and an advocate.”

Her service was recognized with the MUSC Pharmacy Alumni Association’s Honorary Alumnus Award, which is given to an individual who, while not a graduate of the MUSC College of Pharmacy, has made significant contributions to the college’s educational mission.

After taking pre-pharmacy classes at Milsaps College in Mississippi, Mikell earned her B.S. in pharmacy from the University of Mississippi College of Pharmacy in 1975. She served as staff pharmacist at Bolivar Country Hospital (Mississippi), HMO Hunter Foundation for Health Care (Kentucky) and the Lexington VA Medical Center (Kentucky) before moving in 1981 to Charleston where she took a job as staff pharmacist with St. Francis Hospital.

She began her tenure at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in 1982, serving for three years as staff pharmacist.  In 1985 she was appointed assistant chief and then in 1987, inpatient supervisor, where she led the conversion of the medical center’s ward stock program to a unit dose medication management program and increased pharmacy coverage from 10.5 hours per day to 24 hours. In 1998, she was appointed director of pharmacy service. Her accomplishments as director include managing all pharmacy programs as well as leading the transfer of prescriptions to a consolidated mail outpatient pharmacy model, coordination of satellite clinics in Savannah, Beaufort, Myrtle Beach and North Charleston, and review of investigational protocols and medications for formulary inclusion. 

Her work has been recognized by a number of professional peers, including Kappa Epsilon Fraternity with the Unicorn Award for Outstanding Alumni in 2009; the South Carolina Society of Health-System Pharmacists with the Recipient Service Award in 2003, the Lillian Price Distinguished Pharmacy Award in 2002, and the Past President's Award in 2002; and the MUSC Beta Chi Chapter of Phi Lambda Sigma, which inducted her as an honorary member. She has also served as a member of the MUSC Pharmacy Board of Advisors.

Outside of the world of pharmacy, she has been very active in her community. She is past president of the Ft. Sullivan Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, past state registrar and chapter treasurer of the United States Daughters of 1812, and has served as a member in many community organizations like the Garden Club of Charleston, Board of Friends of the Library and other groups. She has been recognized for work in historic preservation as the co-recipient of a National Historic Trust Nomination Award in 1997.