Alumnus Donates Vital Equipment to Pharmacy Students

Pharmacy students learning to take blood pressure readings.
Pharmacy students learn to take blood pressure readings with the stethoscopes donated by Jerry Koblin '60.

Professionalism is one thing Jerry Koblin, a UConn pharmacy alumnus and current member of the School of Pharmacy Advisory Board, knows a good deal about. After graduating in 1960, Koblin ran his family’s pharmacy, aptly named Koblin’s, in Nyack, New York until his retirement in 2013. Beyond that, he has been a member and president of many New York pharmacists’ groups, drug distributors, and boards of directors.

Koblin’s commitment to professionalism was one reason he gave a professional stethoscope to each member of this year’s Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Studies. The students use the stethoscopes while learning to take vital signs. Next year, when they return to complete the final 2 years of their Doctor of Pharmacy program, they will employ them in many practice settings in the community. This third program year requires each student to complete 60- to 100- hours of service learning at events such as migrant worker clinics, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and health fairs. The stethoscopes, therefore, are not merely mantel warmers; they will be put to practical use serving patients across the state.

Pharmacy students with blood pressure simulation arm.
Pharmacy students use a blood pressure simulation arm to learn how to properly take blood pressure readings.

The donation embodies Koblin’s commitment to the profession of pharmacy and the school. Like most other health care schools, such as medicine and nursing, the School of Pharmacy stresses ethics and professionalism. The stethoscopes are the perfect gift to symbolize the students’ transition between academic life and a professional career.

Koblin reiterates that he doesn’t donate out of obligation, but rather enjoyment. He believes giving money is good, but funding a gift that is meaningful is worlds better. “The current pharmacy students put in so much work. They deserve more. They deserve accolades, especially because they are going into a risky profession – they need to be prepared and rewarded.”

Koblin is one of many School of Pharmacy alumni who believe that alumni donations are the way to advanced the school. Ultimately, Koblin deems the improvement of his alma mater to be important. It’s not just because he enjoyed his experience at UConn as a student, or as a fan at Rentschler Stadium watching football games, but because he is thankful for the career UConn helped him earn: “I would have stayed forever,” Koblin jokes, “if they’d let me. These donations are just a simple way to give back. My time at UConn gave me the ability to make a living for my family. If it wasn’t for the School of Pharmacy I’d have nothing to give back and worse, nothing to give back for.”