For more than ten years, Chris Alvarado PHARMD '10 dreamed of becoming a pharmacist. Thanks to the University of the Incarnate Word and his hard work, that dream came true in May 2010. Chris credits God and the University of the Incarnate Word for opening the path for his service to the San Antonio community. Chris had long wanted to be a pharmacist but when his friends would ask him why he had not gone to a Pharmacy school, he would explain that he didn't want to leave his home. In his words, "UIW allowed me to stay in San Antonio and pursue my dream!" When UIW opened the Feik School of Pharmacy it was a dream come true for him and for many future pharmacy students in San Antonio and the South Texas region.
As Chris joins UIW as the newest alumni board member, he comes with plenty of well established community experience. He is a member of the National Community Pharmacists Association and is on the Board of Directors for the Texas Pharmacy Association Political Action Committee. He was also recently elected Vice-President of the Bexar County Pharmacists Association. The two most important UIW principles that resonate the most to him are Faith and Service. In his career, he found a way to connect faith and service daily in his vocation as a Pharmacist.
Chris currently works at Oakdell Family Pharmacy where he relishes the one on one relationship he shares with his customers. Chris makes a special effort to treat his customers like family. He compounds prescriptions that aren't available at the large corner drug stores. A good number of his customers have special needs due to allergies and so he has to individualize the medicine for those who cannot take standard issue pills. He doesn't see his vocation as pure community service but rather an approach to life.
Over the years that he has worked at Oakdell, he has seen families grow up and built strong relationships with the UIW Pharmacy faculty. Chris describes his relationships with the professors and the staff at UIW as family. The staff continue to serve as mentors and friends to him. He currently participates in career days at local schools with Dr. Rene Bellanger and he remembers how the professors have served as a major presence for him both spiritually as well as academically.
His favorite UIW memory is when he received the Dean's Pinnacle Award for excellence in education and leadership. He wasn't even aware that there was such an award and he recalls how his father beamed with pride at the ceremony. One important thing that is clearly evident about Chris, he has an exceedingly optimistic perspective on life. His small piece of advice for students and alumni to consider is one of his favorite anonymous quotes. The quote nicely sums up an important lesson about faith and service, "The only people with whom you should try to get even with are those who have helped you." Having talked to Chris numerous times on the phone, I can tell you that Chris just can't wait for the opportunity.