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Memorial University establishes the Tommy Ricketts award | Local | News

One hundred years after the sergeant. Tommy Ricketts received the prestigious Victoria Cross for his courage during the First World War by King George V, the teenage soldier of White Bay is being recognized by a group of university pharmacies with a special award in his name that not only honors his admirable actions during the war, but later also.

The pharmacy school of the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) will launch the Tommy Ricketts Prize in pharmacy education on Thursday night in the main auditorium of the Health Sciences Center during a white coat ceremony to welcome the new students of the school.

"The story of Tommy Ricketts is quite inspiring," said Dr. Shawn Bugden, dean of the pharmacy school.

Bugden, who was born in Manitoba, but has family roots in this province, had the idea of ​​naming the prize for Ricketts last spring, shortly after his appointment as dean and after a visit to The Rooms. Among the exhibits commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the one that showed Ricketts caught Bugden's attention.

"The story of Tommy Ricketts is pretty well known here in Newfoundland, but the part that I referred to is when he came back from the war, he became a pharmacist," said Bugden.

"So really, that was the thread I got when we started thinking about collecting the prize."

Ricketts, whose bravery in the face of an enemy assault near a small Belgian village saved the Royal Regiment of Newfoundland on October 14, 1918 – graduated in the first class of Memorial University College in 1925.

He then apprenticed as a pharmacist to T. McMurdo & Co. and established himself in a dedicated service life as a pharmacy owner from 1934 until his death in 1967.

It is said that Ricketts died at work – in his shop.

"He came from a small community in Newfoundland, he could not sign his name, but he returned with all the notoriety of the Victoria Cross, he used part of that influence, he entered the school, he started in square one and he was released", essentially, climbed up his boot straps to get an education, trained as a pharmacist and became a community pharmacist for a long time, "said Bugden.

" That's the part of the story that we're excited about: someone who had the tenacity to change his life through education and initiative, to come from a rural community and change his life after the war. "

The Tommy Ricketts Prize will be awarded annually to a student who has attained a high academic level in the school's new pharmacy doctoral program and participates in experiential learning in various parts of the province and abroad.

Bugden said he honors the dedication and lifelong learning, and hopes that the Ricketts story will inspire students.

"Tommy Ricketts won his Victoria Cross on January 19, 2019, almost to the day, 100 years ago, what that makes it interesting and fun, "said Bugden.

" And I hope it resonates with people when they think about the prize. "

Premier Dwight Ball is expected to attend the ceremony. Thursday, along with Gary Kachanoski, president and vice chancellor of MUN

Twitter: TelyRosie

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