A philanthropist from the Upstate has created an avenue for promising students from her hometown to pursue an education at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Barbara Harter Rippy of Union has created a first-of-its-kind endowed scholarship at the Medical University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy. The new scholarship is designed to become the college’s first full-ride scholarship, according to MUSC.
MUSC College of Pharmacy Dean Philip D. Hall presented Rippy with a plaque honoring her and her groundbreaking commitment at a ceremony in Spartanburg on Sept. 26.
“It is an honor and a privilege to recognize Mrs. Rippy, who is such an inspiration in her fearless embrace of a good idea, her resolve to take action and her predilection for making a lasting mark on everything and everyone she touches,” Hall said in a news release.
Totaling $750,000 in current and planned gifts, this endowed gift will fund a full ride for deserving students, preferably from the city of Union.
“Pharmacy was a great career for us, and, thanks to God, allowed Bobby and me to help so many people,” Rippy said in the release.
For 34 years, Bobby Gene Rippy, a graduate of the CODM Class of 1963, and his wife owned and operated Smith Drug Store on Main Street in Union. “Pharmacy school changed Bobby’s life, and I want to give that same opportunity to a new generation,” she said in the release.
Her name has already become a byword at the MUSC College of Pharmacy, where every student enjoys the state-of-the-art Bobby Gene ‘63 and Barbara Harter Rippy Lecture Hall in the college’s new pharmacy building, which opened in April 2023. The college named the lecture hall in appreciation for Mrs. Rippy’s leadership support, including a $1 million commitment to the College of Pharmacy, supporting the mission and the vision of the college.
“Mrs. Rippy’s financial support has been vital to the college, but she is beloved by the MUSC pharmacy family for much more than that,” Hall said in the release. “She has an unquenchable spirit and an irresistible personality.”
Hall said Rippy made a big impression on the MUSC community at the formal dedication of the new pharmacy facility, where she made some impromptu remarks at the podium.
The creation of a new endowed scholarship puts her at the forefront of a strategic shift in philanthropic priorities for the college, which is targeting scholarship support and reduced student debt as its primary fundraising objectives now that the building campaign is complete, the release stated.
In 1959, Bobby Rippy enrolled at the MUSC College of Pharmacy while Barbara Rippy continued to work, supporting the family until her husband earned a pharmacy degree that would eventually enable them to buy Smith Drug Store in 1969, according to the release.
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 vibrant and active parts of Union civic life, participating in and supporting more than a half dozen organizations. Bobby Rippy died in 2012.n