A dual enrollment and liberal arts education helped South Florida State College alumnus Mark MacNeill (Class of 2002) develop the skills he needed to tackle just about anything. His fast-paced job at Walgreens in Avon Park demands that he stay on his toes.
Today, with a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Florida, MacNeill works as a pharmacy manager at the largest pharmacy chain in the United States. He is responsible for everything from counseling patients and providing preventive health care services to assisting with daily pharmacy operations, maintaining pharmacy records, and working with other health care professionals.
“I love that I have the opportunity to build relationships with people as I help them recover and lead healthy lives,” MacNeill said. “The gratitude and thankfulness I receive from my patients is genuine and extremely rewarding.”
MacNeill, an Avon Park native, always loved chemistry but his educational route was fine-tuned with the help of his father. “After I became a pharmacy technician at Winn-Dixie while I was in high school,” he said, “I began to reconsider my career path and interests.” He found a way to combine his love for chemistry and compassion for people.
In pharmacy school, MacNeill felt like he had the upper hand and was better prepared than many of his classmates who had attended larger colleges. He has grown to realize the value of the education he received from SFSC. He credits the support, education, and range of opportunities he found at the college for laying the groundwork for his success in a career he loves.
“I basically grew up at SFSC,” MacNeill said. “My father, Lynn MacNeill, has been a speech professor there for over 40 years. The tightly-knit environment forces students to be mindful of and accountable for their actions. Even though the college has grown remarkably, it still has an atmosphere that sets it apart from other colleges.”
“Small classes afforded me great access to my professors, who had a genuine concern for both my academic and personal growth,” MacNeill said. “It also allowed us to develop personable experiences with other students, staff, and faculty. Now my wife Enid gets to experience the same wonderful education I did as she is currently studying elementary education at SFSC.
“My professors, along with the staff in the Advising and Counseling Center at SFSC, were instrumental in helping me get into pharmacy school,” MacNeill said. “They were always checking up on me and making sure I had everything turned in correctly and on time.”
Looking ahead, MacNeill hopes to share his knowledge and experience with future pharmaceutical students. He has been a guest speaker at numerous SFSC wellness fairs and plans to keep being involved in some capacity to give back at least some of what SFSC has given to him.
“As I reflect on my career, I am extremely thankful for the education and encouragement I received at SFSC,” MacNeill said. “The college provided an essential foundation for my personal and professional success.”