For the first time in the history of the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) Pioneer Pharmacy Awards, one of the 2019 Pioneer Pharmacy Awards has been awarded to an academic. Rhodes University’s Professor of Pharmaceutics, Rod Walker, walked away with the prestigious award during a gala dinner held at Sun City recently.
The SAPC Pioneer Pharmacy Awards are held every three years culminating the proceedings of the National Pharmacy Conference in order to recognise pharmacy professionals and facilities from community, public/private institutional, industry, academic and other sectors as leaders in the provision of quality pharmaceutical services. The SAPC encourages all pharmacy professionals to participate.
“It is an honor and a privilege to win this award and to be the first academic to be recognised by both the Pharmacy Council and the profession. This is extremely exciting and makes me feel that all this hard work has been worth it and it showcases what we do in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Rhodes University,” said Prof Walker, who believes he could not have achieved the recognition if it was not for the support of his colleagues. “This is not just an award for me but it recognises that we are doing something right as a Faculty and the University in this respect,” he said.
The Head and Dean of Pharmacy, Associate Professor Sandile Khamanga, congratulated Prof Walker and said: “It would have been an injustice if such a brilliant person was not rewarded for all his great contributions to Pharmacy in South Africa. I am glad that his dedication, enthusiasm, insight and hard work has paid off. It is such a pleasure to work with someone who knows how to make an inspiring work environment.”
One of Prof Walker’s PhD students and Pharmaceutics Lecturer, Pedzisai Makoni, is one of the people that submitted a motivation for him to be recognised. Professor Walker is his supervisor for his PhD research and a mentor at the Faculty. He said: “Professor Walker’s joint mentorship and supervision skills have granted me the opportunity to acquire special first-hand skills and experience in the use of various state-of-the-art research equipment used in academia and production. He is making a major contribution to the advancement of teaching, learning and research in the field of Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology at the academic institution.”
In his office, Prof Walker has a wall full of pictures of his past postgraduates and says, whenever he is feeling frustrated and uninspired, he looks at the pictures and thinks: “They are the reason I am doing this”.