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Scholarship Awarded on Character Pays it Forward for Alumna’s Family

By Colleen Chase

Published on October 17, 2019

Pauline Tabachnick P'21The difference between success and failure is often the result of someone believing in you. In 1920, an act of kindness and a $50 scholarship changed the future for Pauline Tabachnick P’21.

Tabachnick came to the United States from the Ukraine at just 15 years old with her 17-year-old sister in pursuit of education as opportunities were limited for Jewish people in her homeland. 

In America, Tabachnick had limited money and spoke little English. What she lacked in resources was superseded by her desire to learn. Tabachnick graduated high school and decided to enroll in Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. She was able to save enough money to attend the first year, but the following year, Tabachnick was unable to earn the funds to enroll in the final year needed to complete the two-year degree.

Tabachnick met with Dean Charles H. Lawall to explain why she would not be returning to school. During their meeting, Lawall offered her a $50 scholarship, which allowed her to enroll in her final year. Tabachnick, shocked by the offer, asked, “Why?” Lawall replied that the scholarship was awarded on character.

In 1924, Tabachnick opened a community pharmacy in Brooklyn, New York, with the help of her husband and kept her licenses until her health failed, said Doris Weller, Tabachnick’s daughter. 

Dean Charles H. LawallWeller, a long-time supporter and friend of USciences, remembers the impact this seemingly small gesture had on her mother’s life. “When she would question her skills and abilities, she always looked back on the impact Dean Lawall’s scholarship made on her life to move forward,” Weller said.

A culture of caring has been prevalent at USciences for hundreds of years, proving philanthropy to be a timeless tradition. Because of the kindness of Dean Lawall, students on campus nearly 100 years later are receiving the Pauline Tabachnick Rothman Scholarship to support their education.

In 1987, Tabachnick’s children and grandchildren established a scholarship in her memory and honoring the kindness of Dean Lawall.

“For more than 15 years, the fund has supported female students in their last year of pharmacy school who demonstrate outstanding character,said Weller. Each year, the Weller family shares Tabachnick’s story with the recipients in hope that they, too, can pursue their career in pharmacy with the kindness of others.

Pauline Tabachnick and classmatesShivagni Shah PharmD’19, the 2019 recipient of the award, recognizes the obstacles Tabachnick overcame to pursue her education and is grateful for the contribution from the Weller family to pursue her studies. “I am inspired by Tabachnick’s grit and determination,” said Shah.

Philanthropy has been embraced by deans for generations at USciences. Today, Edward Foote PharmD’87, dean of Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, continues the tradition.

Dr. Foote incorporates philanthropy into his role to meet the needs of our students and faculty. “I try to live by example,” says Foote. “I do what I can to make sure I do my part in supporting our mission.”

One of Foote’s goals since coming to USciences is to enhance the culture of caring at Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. “Certainly, caring for our students and each other doesn’t needto cost money, but many times it does.”

Recently, Foote has been reflecting on what he has been able to accomplish through donor support in the last year. “What we have done was not imaginable at my last institution,” Foote says. “I just got an unsolicited email from a P3 pharmacy student who wanted to thank me for providing funds for her to complete summer research under the direction of one of our pharmacology/toxicology faculty members. I could not have funded that out of operating dollars; it came from donations made during Giving Tuesday.”

“At some point, I think every student should be touched and helped by a donor. Philanthropy is life changing for PCP and the students we serve,” says Foote.

Categories: News, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, Pharmacy, Alumni