MPhS Honors Ms. Ramona McCarthy-Hawkins, July 31, 1928 - February 15, 2018

27 Feb 2018 12:00 PM | Sharonjit Sagoo (Administrator)

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The Maryland Pharmaceutical Society pays our respects to the memory of a woman whose life was full of love, and ended on February 15, 2018, when Ramona McCarthy-Hawkins (affectionately known as, “Ms. Ramona”) was called to join God in Heaven.

Ms. Ramona was born on July 31, 1928, in Columbus, Ohio, the fourth of five children born to Ethel Foree Smith and James O. Smith. Ms. Ramona developed her interest in pharmacy from an early age after seeing a grandfather, three of her mother's siblings, and an elder brother have successful careers in the business. Through her God-given intellect and determination, Ms. Ramona completed undergraduate, graduate, and fellowship training in pharmacy, chemistry, and biochemistry, at a time where such academic achievement was difficult to attain for African-Americans.

Ms. Ramona encountered and overcame a myriad of obstacles in navigating a distinguished 44-year career in federal government service, including sexism and racism. In adversity, Ms. Ramona saw opportunity, becoming the founding member of Federally Employed Women (FEW), an organization created out of a need to support professional women like herself in Federal Government. Ms. Ramona also fought against racism in the federal government through her involvement with Blacks in Government (BIG), which she joined as a founding member, and served as the first president. During her career, Ms. Ramona went on to hold various board positions and memberships in her dedication to mentor and promote equality and excellence in the profession.

Ms. Ramona found her calling as a leader through her service with the Maryland Pharmaceutical Society, the Maryland Pharmacist Association, the National Pharmaceutical Association, the NPhA Foundation, the National Council of Negro Women, Montgomery County Chapter of NAACP, Citizens Minority Relations Committee, Montgomery County School Board, the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy Alumni Association, and a number of other church and community organizations.

Ms. Ramona consistently embodied a philanthropic spirit in donating endowment funds to a number of pharmacy schools and colleges of pharmacy, including Howard University, Florida A&M University, Xavier University, Texas Southern University, Ohio State University, University of Toledo, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, as well as a $15,000 scholarship endowment with the NPhA Foundation. She also contributed funds to A Bridge to Academic Excellence Middle/High School Mentoring and Tutoring Program. Furthermore, Ms. Ramona shared her wisdom by providing mentorship and guidance to generations of students and professionals that followed her footsteps.

Ms. Ramona was an icon and inspiration in the profession of pharmacy. Her loving and gentle spirit will truly be missed. While her passing has left us deeply saddened, we take this moment to reflect upon and celebrate her glorious and fulfilled life in the service of God.

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