Roberts, Johnston, Duffy leave lasting legacy, a job well done

Pam Roberts, Cynthia Johnston, Nancy Duffy

Retirement signifies the end of a career and opens the door to long-anticipated plans and dreams. The College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (CPHS) is preparing to say, “see you later” to three incredible women: Pam Roberts, Dr. Nancy Duffy, and Dr. Cynthia Johnston.

These retirements are well deserved, but the absence of these faculty and staff will be a tremendous loss for the Campbell family.

Roberts, Duffy and Johnston all originally hail from Ohio. Each of them embodies a service-like mentality and love for Campbell. When asked what they will miss the most, all three women quickly admitted, “the people.”  

Pam Roberts has lived in North Carolina for fourteen years. She began working at Campbell in 2010 with the primary responsibility of providing support to the dean of the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (CPHS). Roberts has worn various hats over the years and assisted with a wide-range of administrative duties.

“I have always enjoyed administrative work. My experience as an executive assistant at the headquarters of both Nationwide Insurance and BP Oil, in addition to helping my husband run his company for over 20 years, has provided me with the knowledge and insight needed to assist with the operations of the college,” Roberts shared.

Roberts is an integral part of the dean’s office and has a vast knowledge of systems and details. Questions from various university and college departments and individuals often end up in her office. She always makes the requestor feel like his/her question is very important. Lee Holquist, assistant to the Dean’s Office, reminisced on the years she has worked alongside Roberts by sharing, “She is a fountain of information! She has been an amazing mentor and friend, and I will greatly miss her!”

In 2019, Roberts received the CPHS Alumni Association Lifetime Membership Award. The Alumni Association Honorary Lifetime Membership Award is presented to individuals who did not attend the College but who have adopted it as their own through uncommon and outstanding service, substantial and continuing commitment, and loyalty. Dr. Jim Boyd, associate dean for Administration, described Pam as “a breath of fresh air” who “carries herself with the utmost professionalism.” Anyone who knows Pam would agree that this recognition was richly fitting.

Dr. Michael L. Adams, dean of CPHS, admitted that he could not have imagined transitioning into his deanship without Roberts. Her knowledge and understanding of function and operation was essential to his adjustment. “She brings a tremendous amount of stability to the college and is a key individual in day-to-day operations,” Adams remarked. For eleven years, Roberts has been the point person for everyone and everything in CPHS.

Both Adams and Roberts independently disclosed that they would miss one another’s sense of humor. The two have shared many silly jokes over the years, making some long, hard days a little bit shorter and brighter. “I am indebted to Pam for making my transition smooth, being my biggest confidant, and helping me balance the crazy days,” Adams concluded.

In true Pam fashion, some of her final words included encouragement to CPHS faculty and staff. “I hope they remember that the work they are doing to educate students is nothing short of amazing!” she remarked. Roberts is most looking forward to traveling and spending more time with friends, her children, and her grandbabies.

Dr. Nancy Duffy lived in North Carolina from 1984-2004. She returned to NC in 2013 when she was named the founding director of the Catherine W. Wood School of Nursing.

 Duffy was immediately tasked with developing an application to the NC Board of Nursing to begin a school of nursing. She was given a 23-day deadline to submit the application. In that time, she managed to secure clinical sites, develop a curriculum with 15 course syllabi, establish faculty requirements, and began the search process for faculty. Drs. Wesley Rich and Ronald Maddox, the Communications and Marketing Department, and the print shop were instrumental in completion of this 276 page application.

The pressure to build the program was high. Duffy immediately began promoting the program and recruiting students and families at Rotary and Lion’s Club dinners. She quickly learned and adapted to the Campbell way as she devised the best practices for advising approximately 150 pre-nursing students.

Callie Manning, program manager for the Catherine W. Wood School of Nursing, first met Duffy in 2017. Manning’s first impression was that Duffy displayed class, a good sense of style (especially her shoes), and high intelligence. Over the past four years, Manning has worked side by side with Duffy and learned that she is compassionate, generous, funny, and can put one in their place in the most dignified way.  

“When I was looking for a change in my career, I prayed that God would bring godly influences into my work life, and Dr. Duffy truly was an answer to my prayers. She is fair, has integrity, and is the hardest working person I know. I can’t thank Dr. Duffy enough for the important role she has played in my life. Not only has she been a great boss and leader, but she is also an amazing mentor,” Manning shared.   

 When asked what accomplishment she was most proud of, Duffy acknowledged the first graduation cohort in 2018 and that class’s incredible 100% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam. Campbell received full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in 2017.

During her time at Campbell, Duffy had the privilege of assisting with the design elements for classrooms and labs in Smith Hall. She is proud of the magnificent result! While reminiscing on her time at Campbell, Duffy fondly remembered the late Dr. Sandra Goins, the school’s first Assistant Director, by sharing, “We were great partners until her untimely death in 2018.”

Duffy believes laughter allows you to thrive and survive. She is most looking forward to sleeping in, doing things on her own time, and spending time with loved ones.

Dr. Cindy Johnston has lived in NC since 1985. Johnston joined the Campbell family in 2001 after many years of clinical practice at UNC Hospitals and Rex Healthcare, where she specialized in Oncology and Pain Management. She has spent the past 20 years serving the CPHS Pharmacy Program as an Internal Medicine faculty member, practicing at the VA in Durham, NC.

Johnston was an adjunct assistant professor with UNC at the time she transitioned to Campbell. She possessed a lot of teaching and clinical experience and has always been dedicated to the care of Veterans, which made her the ideal choice for the VA Hospital in Durham. 

In addition to her role as an assistant professor of Pharmacy Practice, Johnston has also taught courses on pain management, hospice, and palliative care. She is proud that Campbell has incorporated a significant amount of instruction on opioid safety to prepare pharmacists to be a part of the solution to the opioid epidemic. Johnston was also involved with human research subject protections through the Institutional Review Board for many years. During her time at Campbell, Johnston played a role in creating a more robust Institutional Review Board noting, “This required the efforts of many individuals.”

Johnston’s guidance and encouragement has helped so many individuals thrive in both academic and clinical environments. Campbell has been lucky to have her expertise in internal medicine. Jason Moss, former assistant professor of Pharmacy Practice, shared, “She was my point person for complex pain management patients! She has also been a caring and supportive preceptor that has made positive impacts on our learners during her academic tenure. It’s been an honor to work with Cindy and her impact on our students and patients will be evident for years to come.”

Johnston’s contribution to the profession of pharmacy, the VA and especially to CPHS would take a book to adequately characterize. In short, she is leaving a legacy that few practitioners can claim. Dr. Byron May, chair of Pharmacy Practice, and Dr. Connie Barnes, executive vice chair of Pharmacy Practice, both expressed how proud they are to have worked with Cindy over her entire career at Campbell. May added, “I can say unequivocally that she will be missed by all the faculty and especially those students who were fortunate enough to learn from her in the classroom and on her rotation. Our department wishes Cindy all the best in retirement.”

“I hope my students continue to find rewarding and satisfying careers in the VA Healthcare System,” Johnston concluded. She is most looking forward to having time to focus on home projects.

Winston Churchill observed, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Roberts, Duffy, and Johnston have lead successful careers, fueled by service and a desire to impart change. They have poured time and energy in to countless people and projects. They have lead by example, and their commitment and dedication has contributed to the success of many students and CPHS as a whole. Campbell thanks them for their many contributions, and wishes them well on their next adventure!