Tom W. Seto (PharmD 2011)
Why is it important/what motivates you to give back to the College of Pharmacy?
The College of Pharmacy, including the faculty, staff, and my peers, helped define me as a practitioner and a leader. From the time I was a freshman, the College has felt like another home to me. The faculty and staff were not only interested in my professional development, but they also took the time to get to know me personally and became mentors. As I visited other pharmacy schools around the country searching for a graduate program, I realized what made our program so unique. It was the personal investment our faculty and staff had in our program and our students. This is more than a job for them. They truly believe in the potential of the students. Students deserve the opportunity to experience our culture and environment, and giving back ensures that our program will continue to blossom into the best pharmacy program in the country.
You are one of the first young alumni (recent graduates) to make a planned gift. Why did you choose to do this now?
This is my way of showing how personally invested I am in the College. I do not want to make possibly empty promises and say that I will donate once I have established a life for myself. I want to show my appreciation now. Putting aside wherever my future takes me, the Purdue College of Pharmacy has already made an impact on me. Before I even received that diploma, the return on investment for six years of tuition has already exceeded anything I can hope for.
You have made a planned gift. Why did you decide to use this specific vehicle (will, annuity, CRT, etc.) to make a gift?
As a new graduate, I do not have the liquid assets to contribute immediately. A planned gift will continue to build value and is worth more than the few hundred dollars I can afford now.
What was your experience at Purdue as a student? Any particularly fond/humorous memories of your days at Purdue?
I took advantage of all the opportunities to develop both personally and professionally. College is more than what you learn in the classroom. There is so much to be learned outside the classroom that facilitates the development of a well-rounded individual. I joined organizations that reflected my passions to develop my leadership skills. I made an effort to meet people from all walks of life to experience the global culture our community embodies. The answer was always a resounding "Yes!" no matter what the question was. Every experience was an opportunity to learn something new and incorporate that into the person I am today. Along the way, it became less about what this university can do for me, but how I can give back to others. I learned to love higher education as much as I love pharmacy. The greatest feeling to me was helping peers and the younger generations realize their potential and passions. I do not want to define success by how much money I make, rather by the successes of the individuals I have influenced. It became about leaving a legacy that will live beyond my time on campus.
My fondest memory was definitely being named Homecoming King in 2007. I was the first junior to receive that title, and it was a humbling experience to be recognized for the time and energy I had invested in hopes of making our College and our university the best in the country. I wanted to embody the spirit of a Boilermaker and show others the type of experience they can have during their tenure at Purdue. It was not about replicating my experiences, but finding their own reason to love Purdue and develop a life-long connection to their alma mater. I remember Sara Wagner, the current Homecoming Queen, telling me how she remembered when she was a freshman and saw me on the football field during Homecoming and feeling a connection and inspiration to become something more.
How do you hope your planned gift will impact the College of Pharmacy and its students in the future? Do you hope that your planned gift will inspire your classmates to follow in your footsteps?
I want future classes to have an even better experience than I did. I want to them to have the best resources and faculty to prepare them for their careers. I hope my classmates, in time, will realize the impact Purdue and the College of Pharmacy had on them and feel compelled to follow in my footsteps by financially supporting our program. I know that I couldn't have had the experience I had without the generosity of our alumni. Some give back with time, and those are the individuals we see during our four years. However, there are numerous amounts of dedicated alumni who give back with money because they believe in the program and the quality of students we produce.
What have you been doing since your May graduation? Would you like to share your current position/graduate work with our readers?
I am currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy at the University of Florida. I am also working as a pharmacist on the side at Walgreens in Gainesville, Florida. My goal is to come back to Purdue University College of Pharmacy as a professor.