CVS Caremark, the largest pharmacy health care provider in the U.S., named WesternU’s College of Pharmacy as its 2010 Partner of the Year.

CVS officials surprised College of Pharmacy administration and faculty with the award and a $50,000 check at the college’s dedication ceremony for the CVS/Pharmacy Student Services Center on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011.

“This is an amazing honor,” said College of Pharmacy Dean Daniel Robinson, PharmD. “We’re grateful to work so closely with CVS.”

CVS is a major employer of College of Pharmacy graduates, and the college has enjoyed a tremendous partnership with the company, Robinson said.

CVS Caremark recognizes one school partner each year that shares the same vision as CVS, said Papatya Tankut, RPh, CVS Caremark Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Services. Both organizations have a passion for community pharmacy, and the relationship is mutually beneficial. CVS hired 49 College of Pharmacy graduates in 2010 and has already recruited 22 students in 2011, she said.

CVS Caremark’s vision is improving the quality of human life through patient care and delivery of service. “The quality of students WesternU produces allows us to meet these standards,” Tankut said.

WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, thanked CVS officials for working with the university to produce highly skilled graduates who care for their patients.

“As a patient, it’s important to me when I deal with my health professional that I can trust them. That’s all based on the education provided here,” he said. “Thank you for your partnership, support and generosity.”

The announcement reinforced what was already a celebration of the partnership between CVS and the College of Pharmacy. CVS Caremark gave a $75,000 gift in April 2010 to create the new CVS/Pharmacy Student Services Center. Students will utilize the center to plan community outreach projects and other club activities.

“We need to provide infrastructure and support to allow students to do the amazing things we know they are capable of,” Robinson said.