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National Kappa Epsilon (KE) Outstanding Advisor Award recipient Shane Tolleson, center, faculty co-advisor of KE's Upsilon Chapter, displays the award among student chapter members and fellow co-advisor and past award recipient Cathy Hatfield.

All About the 'Bond'

Faculty Member, Alumnus Tolleson Earns National Kappa Epsilon Outstanding Advisor Award

August 17 — University of Houston College of Pharmacy faculty member and alumnus Shane Tolleson, Pharm.D. (’14), clinical assistant professor and director of ambulatory-based advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs), was recognized with the 2021-23 Outstanding Advisor Award by the national Kappa Epsilon (KE) professional pharmacy fraternity at its 54th National Convention July 26-29 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Tolleson was nominated by officers in KE’s Upsilon Chapter at UHCOP, who lauded their faculty co-advisor for his steadfast presence at chapter events, instrumental student advocacy, and unfaltering passion and dedication to the chapter.

A+ in Attendance

Tolleson’s nominators pointed to his enthusiastic participation in group discussions and activities during every chapter meeting. When he's not physically at KE Upsilon events, he is checking in with officers and providing constructive feedback and support that the organization needs to continue thriving. He’s credited with inspiring KE Upsilon’s "Be the Bond" motto for 2022-2023.

"His presence at our events is always appreciated, and it makes a big difference in the morale and engagement of our members," said Pharm.D. candidate Amna Hamed, who served as 2022-2023 KE Upsilon secretary.

Student Advocate

From creating bonds to serving as a beacon, Tolleson leads his students to success both professionally and personally, through pharmacy school and beyond.

"He is a true advocate for his students, inspiring them to reach their full potential and consistently demonstrating genuine interest in his students' success," said Pharm.D. student Kiran Wazir, 2022-2023 KE-Upsilon president-elect and 2023-24 president.

Putting Advice in Advisor

Pharm.D. candidate Anna E. Tam, 2022-2023 KE Upsilon historian, said Tolleson was a big influence in helping her prepare for her fourth-year rotations.

"His attention and ability to listen to my concerns made me feel less anxious about deciding on sites for APPEs," Tam said. "He even took the time to check in on how I was working towards my career goals and advised me on strategies for networking."

Tolleson dedicates countless hours to ensure the success and growth of the organization and its members.

"Dr. Tolleson gives 100% full support in helping the officers of the Upsilon chapter to keep things running," said Pharm.D. candidate Phuong Dang, who served as 2022-23 KE Upsilon president.

From the ashes

Tolleson knows full well that continued success can't be taken for granted. When he joined KE Upsilon as a student, the organization was on the brink of becoming inactive. 

"With just two active members who were both P3s, it was up to the new recruits to keep the organization going," Tolleson said. "We worked hard on visibility within the college and recruiting ideas for the next year. We were successful in recruiting approximately 10 new members the following year and won a national award for it at the conference."

In addition, Tolleson held two leadership positions within KE Upsilon as a student: vice president and vice president of membership recruiting. As a faculty co-advisor today, he continues to cultivate leaders who will keep KE Upsilon moving in a positive direction, which includes sustaining and growing its current ranks of nearly three dozen students.

"(The award) means so much to me just to be nominated by our future pharmacists, let alone to win the award," he said. "The Kappa Epsilon members make it easy and enjoyable to be their faculty advisor. I truly appreciate and am humbled by the honor and look forward to many more years as an advisor for such a great group of student pharmacists."

In a rare – if not historic first – the Upsilon Chapter has the distinction of having both of its faculty co-advisors as recipients of the award with faculty co-advisor Cathy Hatfield, Pharm.D., earning the Outstanding Advisor Award for 2011-2013.