School of Pharmacy News & Media Center
The University of Mississippi

Love Story Features

Posted on: February 14th, 2020 by herman

Sandy and John Bentley Hit Love Out of the Park

February 28, 2018

OXFORD, Miss. – When Sandy and John Bentley began dating, they knocked love right out of the park. Almost 30 years later, the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy faculty members continue to show their relationship is a grand slam.

Sandy and John met as undergraduate student workers in Drake University’s dining services. The pair didn’t really know each other until John, now UM School of Pharmacy’s chair and professor of pharmacy administration, spilled a five-gallon bag of chocolate milk as he tried to refill the container. It was a good thing he didn’t cry over spilled milk.

John and Sandy Bentley

John and Sandy Bentley

“I know a lot of people who would have had a fit, got upset, said bad words or stormed home for the day,” said Sandy, the operational director of UM Pharmacy Health Services. “Not John. He just calmly cleaned it up and kept working. I was so impressed with how he behaved after that, it caught my attention.”

The pair dated throughout pharmacy school and stayed together when John left Iowa for Ole Miss to pursue a graduate degree. He returned that winter for the holiday break with an engagement ring, planning to propose outside of Drake’s Old Main building. When the midwestern weather had snow and sleet in store upon John’s return, Sandy wanted to put his walking plans to Old Main on hold for a day, but not John.

“That was my whole thing, to walk around campus and propose on the steps of the building that’s the equivalent of the Ole Miss Lyceum,” John said. “I had been planning this and had the ring, so I couldn’t sit and wait another day. My impatience wouldn’t let me.”

Sandy said yes, they tied the knot that next summer and the two are now approaching 24 years of marriage. They find ways to work together, and recently collaborated on a project related to cigarette smoking cessation on campus with other pharmacy faculty and students.

Home life for the Bentleys is less pharmacy and more baseball, especially Ole Miss baseball. Their shared passion for the sport has them at Swayze Field for a majority of the Rebels’ home games and cheering on former players at the professional level.

The Bentleys travel to Omaha every year, even if the Rebels aren’t in the College World Series. When Ole Miss was in the CWS in 2014, Sandy even caught a ride home with the family of former student pharmacist Rachel Roberts when John had to leave early for a conference.

One Christmas, John bought Sandy a headset and a book on how to score baseball. She now keeps score at every game, which evolved from bringing her own printouts to now using an app on her iPad. Before the days of Twitter, Sandy even had parents of the student-athletes checking in with her to keep up with each play.

“Some of my proudest moments are when people around us are talking about something that just happened, and Sandy will turn around and quietly give them a little lesson on why it’s okay we walked this person or bunted in this situation,” John said. “She will kind of school them.”

The pair continue to learn from each other. John said that Sandy has showed him what it means to be a good pharmacist, and Sandy appreciates John’s passion for his subject matter, even naming their dogs after famous statisticians.

“His students will come into the pharmacy, and it dawns on them that I’m his wife,” Sandy said. “They’ll go on about how excited he is about statistics – not necessarily about how much they like it, but they see how much he enjoys and likes it. That’s pretty cool because that means he’s reaching them.”


Kristen and Adam Pate Cook Up A Successful Relationship

February 26, 2018

OXFORD, Miss. – There may not be a specific recipe for love, but Kristen and Adam Pate might have come pretty close to one, and it comes in the form of banana caramel pie. The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy faculty members have been cooking up a successful partnership for the past 11 years.

Both natives of Natchez, the clinical associate professors of pharmacy practice didn’t know each other until meeting in between classes in Faser Hall as student pharmacists at the School of Pharmacy. While Kristen was waiting to meet with John Bentley, now chair and professor of the pharmacy administration department, Adam walked up and said, “Hey, that’s my mom on that composite picture. Aren’t you from Natchez?” Fate stepped in again when Kristen worked with Adam’s mom, also a pharmacist, during her first introductory pharmacy rotation.

Kristen and Adam Pate

Kristen and Adam Pate with their children, Ivy (left), Aubrey and Eli.

“She always said she started praying for me then,” Kristen said.

Adam said it took a couple of years to convince Kristen to go on a date with him, but they became official during the summer before their third year of pharmacy school. After moving all day from Oxford to Jackson, Adam made dinner and brought it to her house for their first date. On the menu was chicken pasta and, for dessert, banana caramel pie.

Nearly one year later, Adam was ready to propose. He set up a date for them at a dance class in Jackson and planned to propose at the end of class. Kristen had no idea, which was clear when Adam had to convince her to not rush out at the end.

“I had to grab her from walking out the door because she thought everyone had to leave since the class was over,” Adam said. “There was this sweet song playing, and I was telling her that there was one more thing and she said we could just deal with it later. I was like, just wait!”

After almost nine years of marriage, the pair enjoy cooking together and planning fun activities for their kids, six-year-old Aubrey, four-year-old Eli and two-year-old Ivy. The most popular activity at the moment is family dance parties to Taylor Swift, the Trolls soundtrack or Maroon 5.

With a full house to come home to, it’s no surprise Kristen and Adam don’t talk much about work after hours. Being able to separate the two is all they’ve ever known after working together as students, residents and faculty members. Although they work well together, maintaining a divide between work and home is something they feel helps foster a successful marriage.

“It’s really easy to think we work together and live together, but if you don’t take the time to actually make meaningful moments with each other, it can turn into work,” Kristen said. “Keeping them separate is just my advice, and let work stay at work the best you can.”

Their appreciation for each other continues to grow as they become more involved with their kids, who are always more than happy to enjoy a banana caramel pie with their parents.


Love Takes Flight for Seena and Stuart Haines

February 20, 2018

OXFORD, Miss. – Seena and Stuart Haines didn’t have any trouble building up their frequent flyer miles during their courtship. Long before each joined the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy faculty in Jackson, the two were traveling between Maryland and Florida to see each other.

Although Seena and Stuart don’t have to go too far to see each other anymore, their love continues to take flight 13 years later.

Seena and Stuart Haines

Stuart and Seena Haines

The Haines’ love story began at a pharmacy conference, but exactly which one is considered a toss-up. Stuart, the School of Pharmacy’s director of the Division of Pharmacy Professional Development, recalls being introduced to Seena at an American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting and Seena, chair and professor of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, remembers meeting Stuart at an American Pharmacists Association meeting. Either way, it was at a small, invitational pharmacy meeting in Chicago where the pair actually got a chance to know each other.

After a long-distance relationship for over a year – Stuart was on faculty at the University of Maryland while Seena was at Palm Beach Atlantic University – Stuart popped the question. The proposal was supposed to be another type of flight, this time in a hot-air balloon over a vineyard in Calistoga, California. However, things didn’t go as planned.

When Seena picked up that they would be riding in a balloon, Stuart quickly learned of one of her fears – balloons. The plan was then diverted, and Stuart asked for Seena’s hand safely from the ground with the balloons overhead.

Now both at the School of Pharmacy’s UMMC campus, the Haines call working together “an adventure every day.” Occasionally they will commute or eat lunch together, and they have had opportunities to give national presentations and collaborate on scholarly work together. Once they get home, they try to keep work at work.

“We don’t talk about work at home very often,” Seena said. “Occasionally, it’s nice to get advice from someone who understands pharmacy and medical-related issues. When someone has a significant accomplishment, it’s nice having a partner who appreciates the significance and meaning.”

In their free time, the Haines love to enjoy delicious food and travel. They have been to almost every continent, and Africa is next on their list. Enjoying time together and apart is one thing they feel will help other pharmacy couples.

“Every married couple finds their own rhythm,” Stuart said. “There should be things you like doing together as a couple, but there are things that you should do as individuals. Finding hobbies or activities you like to do independently of your partner is equally as important.”

As their story continues to soar, a new chapter for the Haines is hitting the road – teaching their son, Ian, to drive.


Pharmacy Practice Shapes Flemings’ Love Story

February 14, 2018

OXFORD, Miss. – It was easy for Laurie and Josh Fleming to connect – they spoke the same language. They both specialized in ambulatory care and diabetes management as University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy faculty members on the Jackson campus, and the two easily formed a bond over work talk.

Then their love story began to take shape.

Fleming Family Picture

Josh and Laurie Fleming with their son, Garrett.

Although they are both Mississippi natives and Ole Miss graduates, the two never directly crossed paths until they began working together. Laurie, a clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice, completed her Pharm.D. and pharmacy residency in the state before joining the school’s faculty in 2010. Josh, a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice, had stops at the University of Tennessee, Campbell University and Johns Hopkins University. He met Laurie when he moved to Jackson to work at the School of Pharmacy in July of 2012.

“It has actually been such a blessing for us,” Laurie said of working in the same field as her husband. “There is always someone there with whom to bounce ideas. We both have a passion for working with students and residents, and it’s fun to celebrate their successes together.”

The two began dating after getting to know each other better through friends from church. Laurie saw many positive qualities in Josh that continue to inspire her – he sees the best in others, gives the benefit of the doubt and is never judgmental.

Josh was immediately attracted to Laurie’s kind personality, saying she is a good partner for him because she helps him better understand people from an emotional standpoint.

After dating for about eight months, Josh set out to propose with some help from their labradoodle, Wrigley.

Laurie Fleming and Josh Fleming with dog

Laurie and Josh Fleming with their labradoodle, Wrigley.

“I knew that Laurie was expecting a proposal soon, so I wanted to propose when she least expected it,” Josh said. “I knew she would expect something if I planned a fancy dinner or trip, so on the morning of October 5, 2013, Laurie was coming to pick me up at my house to meet her family at a fall festival nearby. Wrigley and I were sitting on the front porch when she arrived. She walked up, and I pulled out the ring. Laurie was shocked and surprised, to say the least.”

After three years of marriage, the couple enjoys spending time outside, traveling to new places, eating well and, of course, watching their 17-month-old son, Garrett, grow up. They don’t let work get in the way of those precious moments.

“We like to debrief at the end of the day about where we have been and what we have done,” Laurie said. “It allows us to let the day go and move on to enjoy our time as a family.”

Laurie and Josh aren’t the first married couple in pharmacy, and they likely won’t be the last. They both agree that to make it work, couples have to make an effort to get away from the world of pharmacy. Laurie said that trips and friends outside of the profession have expanded their horizons. Josh agreed, but knows that working together can be an advantage.

“When you live and work together it is sometimes hard to get away from being a pharmacist,” Josh said. “A huge positive for us is that we typically get to attend a lot of the same conferences. This gives us opportunities to travel together often, and we have a partner to explore different cities.”