College names lecture hall to honor Rippys

Megan Draper
August 11, 2021
Barbara Rippy at table
Barbara Harter Rippy, M. Larry Craine, Ms. Rippy’s personal financial advisor; Philip Hall, dean, MUSC College of Pharmacy; and Megan Draper, director of development, MUSC College of Pharmacy

Noted Union philanthropist Barbara Harter Rippy has made a $1 million commitment to the College of Pharmacy at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The donation will support the mission and vision of the college.

In recognition of this major gift, the college is naming the lecture hall in its new pharmacy facility the Bobby Gene ’63 and Barbara Harter Rippy Lecture Hall. A virtual groundbreaking for the new facility was held in April.

“The Rippys exemplify the best characteristics of independent community pharmacy ownership,” said Philip Hall, dean of the MUSC College of Pharmacy. “Trusted caregivers, community leaders, dedicated to customers, good businesspeople, and great models for our students. We’re delighted the Rippy name will have such a prominent place at MUSC.”

For 34 years, the Rippys owned and operated Smith’s Drug Store on Main Street in Union, South Carolina. In 1959, Bobby Rippy enrolled at the MUSC College of Pharmacy while Barbara Rippy continued to work, supporting the family until he earned a pharmacy degree that would eventually enable them to buy Smith’s Drug Store in 1969.

The Rippys became community leaders and benefactors, supporting civic and church organizations as well as sponsoring a Dixie Youth baseball team for 44 years. They retired in 2004 and continued to be a vibrant and active part of Union civic life, participating in and supporting more than a half dozen organizations. Bobby Rippy passed away in 2012.

The Rippys have long been known for their generosity of spirit; they were giving back when they barely had anything to give. Barbara Rippy credits God first for her ability to give so generously. Not long after opening the pharmacy, when a customer had charged children’s prescriptions four times in a row, Bobby Rippy said, “As long as I live and I’ve got any money, no child will go without their medication.” They stuck by that maxim, and when they closed they were still owed $75,000.

“We didn’t miss one dime of that,” Barbara Rippy said. “When you’re good to people, they are good to you. After all the professors did for Bobby to help him become a pharmacist, I told Larry [Craine, Barbara’s personal financial advisor since 1987] that I wanted to give the College of Pharmacy $1 million so that students for years to come would have the same opportunity to fulfill their dreams of becoming pharmacists as well.”

The lecture hall named after the Rippys in the new pharmacy facility reflects that special bond between student and teacher. The state-of-the-art lecture hall is dedicated for pharmacy instruction, making it a vital and highly visible site of shared experience for every MUSC pharmacy student and faculty member.

“Having a dedicated lecture hall for them to learn and interact is essential,” said Chris Wisniewski, professor and nationally acclaimed expert in pharmacy education. “New space with new technology allows faculty to experiment in the educational realm and identify new ways to educate our students.”