OXFORD, Miss – Students often look to their parents for guidance and inspiration in determining their career path. It was no different for Val Soldevila, as his father, Frank Soldevila, left many footsteps to follow.
“I’ve heard his story several times about how he came to the United States from Panama without speaking English,” said Val Soldevila.
Frank Soldevila emigrated to the US in 1944 to train as a pharmacist. He began his studies at Loyola University in New Orleans for two years before finding his eventual academic home at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. Soldevila graduated with honors and went on to have a successful career in pharmacy.
At the time of his death in 2015, he had been a registered pharmacist for over 50 years.
It was this story that inspired Val Soldevila to create a scholarship in the name of his father that will have an impact on future pharmacists. The Francisco “Frank” Soldevila Pharmacy Scholarship Endowment will help students make their own way in the profession.
“Since I sold my pharmacy in 2020, I thought it was only fitting that I could honor my father in this way,” said Val Soldevila. “I’m sure he would be proud to help deserving students in their careers in pharmacy.”
Following his father’s lead, Soldevila continued his own career in pharmacy. He also went to see Ole Miss, where he embraced the educational opportunities and strong relationships.
“My best memories should be the lifelong friendships I made in pharmacy school that I still enjoy today,” he said.
After graduating in 1977, Soldevila began his career at Economy Drugs in Clarksdale. Eight years later, he bought half of Henderson Drugs in Clarksdale and became a partner with his father.
The chance to work with his father provided even more valuable lessons, Soldevila said.
“My father gave so much of himself to the pharmacy and also to me over the years,” said the son. “He taught me a lot about pharmacy and running a business.”
Soldevila has also been deeply involved with the Mississippi pharmacy community during his career, serving as a member of the Mississippi Pharmacists Association and the Mississippi Independent Pharmacy Association. Before that, from 2013 to 2014, he served as district president and chairman of MPhA.
His work at MPhA earned him the JD Slater District Achievement Award in 2013 and the Executive Directors MVP award in 2014. Earlier this year, he was named Clarksdale’s Best Pharmacist of the Year.
Donna Strum, interim dean of the School of Pharmacy, praised the establishment of the scholarship.
“Frank Soldevila’s story should serve as an inspiration for every student,” Strum said. “I am so happy that Val is helping his father’s legacy live on for years to come with this scholarship.”
To make a donation to the Francisco “Frank” Soldevila Pharmacy Scholarship Endowment, send a check, with the name of the donation in the memo line, to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or submit online at https://give.olemiss.edu.
For more information about supporting the School of Pharmacy, contact Sally Rychlak, associate director of development, at email@example.com or 662-915-3084.