Raising the beam: a symbol of commitment to education

Roby Hill
January 21, 2022
Library and education center with basic science and new pharmacy facility under construction

On Jan. 20, 2022, the Medical University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy held a Topping Out Ceremony to celebrate raising the highest beam of its new pharmacy facility.

Educators value ritual. Pharmacy students start with a white coat ceremony and end with a hooding ceremony and commencement. In the intervening years, they are part of inductions, recitations, presentations, and many other types of rituals.

Ritual is part of these experiences because it helps illustrate the important change that takes place. At each milestone, students are expected to embrace a new sense of self, a new state of mind, and a new sense of belonging. Ritual gives a tangible representation of that passage. The ceremony around it offers an opportunity to celebrate the student’s achievements and introduce their new status to friends, family, and peers.

The Topping Out Ceremony marked a similar passage. The pharmacy building is part of an overall construction project that is MUSC’s investment in the physical footprint of education. Just as the beam was raised to the highest point of the new pharmacy facility, the project itself raised the bar on what education at MUSC means. So, one thing the beam symbolizes is a heightened commitment to our educational mission.

The pharmacy program is a vital part of that mission. The groundbreaking in April 2021 was the start of a journey that will end with pharmacy housed in the heart of campus. The Topping Out Ceremony marked a transition from ‘building up’ to ‘building out.’ And while there is a long way to go, it was a moment to savor.