May 24, 2021
As Ole Miss Pharmacy students make their way through school, they are fortunate to receive guidance and assistance from the faculty and staff. One such staff member is Peggy Duke. As staff assistant for student services with the Department of Pharmacy Practice, Duke lends a helping hand to students at the school’s Jackson campus. Her willingness to help students has not gone unnoticed by them over the years. She first received the “Friend of the Student” award in 2013, and was selected once again this year by pharmacy students.
Get to know Duke in this Q&A, where she told us all about her background and experiences at the school.
Where are you from?
I am originally from Jackson, Mississippi. My husband and I moved to Memphis in the late ‘80s and on to Nashville for 25 years. We moved back to the Jackson area about 12 years ago.
When and why did you come to work with the School of Pharmacy?
When we moved back to Mississippi, we were planning on moving to Oxford. My mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years earlier, so we changed our plans and decided to live in the Jackson area to be closer to her and my dad. When I was looking for career opportunities in Oxford I saw the listing for a job with the School of Pharmacy in Jackson. I came and interviewed, met some really kind people, and came to work for the school as part of a research grant.
What are your responsibilities with the School of Pharmacy?
My responsibilities have changed. As I said, I started working in Pharmacy Practice as a staff assistant for a research grant involving medication therapy management in the Mississippi Delta. My responsibilities evolved into Student Services. I now work with Student Services in Jackson, I plan any School of Pharmacy events in Jackson, and I also assist our Pharmacy Practice department chair when needed.
What are some highlights of your time with the school?
There are many. Moving into our new School of Pharmacy building in Jackson and the many events in Jackson. I enjoy meeting and forming relationships with our faculty and staff, but what I enjoy most is watching our students come to Jackson and the changes that occur in the two years they are here. They transform from “college students” to young professionals, and it is so rewarding to see their achievements and accomplishments.
What professional advice would you give to anyone who is working with students?
When I moved to Student Services my children were the same age as our students, and I saw and used that as an advantage. My advice is to take a sincere interest in students when they come to you with any questions, needs, problems or good news. There are many ups and downs in a school year, so show compassion and encouragement, if needed, and celebrate the good. I tell the students at the beginning of each year that I have an open-door policy. They can come to me for anything, and I will help them with whatever they need.
What are your hobbies?
My grandchildren. I have one grandson in the Jackson area and love spending time with him. My other grandson is in Nashville, but soon moving to Oxford. I hope to spend a lot of time in Oxford with him as well.
How does it feel to be honored by the students for a second time?
I AM honored. I really enjoy working with the students, getting to know them for the short time they are in Jackson. Celebrating their engagements, weddings, children, residencies, fellowships, careers… all of their milestones.