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Walgreens announces $50,000 gift for UH Hilo College of Pharmacy

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Date: Saturday, May 10, 2008
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG) today gave a $50,000 unrestricted gift to the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy. The nation’s largest pharmacy chain presented an oversized check to the University at a luau Saturday attended by over 200 University students, employees and supporters.

College of Pharmacy Dean John Pezzuto said the Walgreens gift will be used to help fund ongoing initiatives, such as student activities and faculty development. A permanent plaque commemorating the gift will be displayed in the College of Pharmacy.

“The College of Pharmacy is extremely pleased to accept Walgreens generous gift,” Pezzuto said. “As we celebrate the conclusion of our first year of studies, this gives us even greater confidence in our ability to train pharmacists who will enter the profession and help to improve healthcare throughout the State of Hawai‘i. We are very grateful and look forward to continuing our partnership with Walgreens for many years to come.”

Walgreens opened its first Hawai‘i store in November 2007 on Keeaumoku Street in Honolulu across from Ala Moana Center, and has announced plans to open additional 25-30 stores Statewide over the long term.

“Walgreens is proud to support the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy,” said Clark Fujihara, Walgreens district pharmacy supervisor for Hawai‘i. “I have met many of the students and I’m extremely impressed with their dedication and talent. As Walgreens continues to grow throughout the State, we hope many of these students will consider joining our company once they receive their doctoral degrees.”

The UH Hilo College of Pharmacy is the first accredited pharmacy program in the State of Hawai‘i. Its first class of 90 students started in August 2007, and is scheduled to receive Pharm.D. degrees in May 2011. They must then pass an examination to become a Registered Pharmacist. The College of Pharmacy has received over 1,200 applications for the second class of 90 students, which will matriculate in August 2008. The goal is to enroll about 350 students over four years.

“The progress of our College of Pharmacy has been remarkable,” said Chancellor Rose Tseng. “It is wonderful that we can finally offer students the opportunity to study pharmacy in Hawai‘i. This will lead to better healthcare in Hawai‘i and the Pacific. We are grateful to Walgreens for their generosity as a community partner helping to build this program.”

At the same event, Kerri Okamura, director of pharmacy at KTA Superstores, was honored as the College of Pharmacy’s first Preceptor of the Year. She received a plaque, and her name will be prominently displayed in the College. Okamura said she was thrilled to serve as a preceptor and to help educate this first class of students. She noted it has been rewarding to have the students learn the profession at KTA, and is pleased that local students can finally learn the profession of pharmacy in Hawai‘i.

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