Brotherly Love

Siblings in Inaugural Class Share Their Love of Tyler and the University

Publication Date: 01/24/2020

Siblings learn, play and grow together. The fact certainly rings true for brothers Jac and Ethan Calderon of Del Rio, who became classmates and study partners during their time at UT Tyler.

The pair both enrolled in and graduated from UT Tyler Fisch College of Pharmacy’s inaugural class.

“Moving all the way to the forests of East Texas while growing up in a border town in Southwest Texas was a big change us,” Jac said. “UT Tyler was an exceptional home for my older brother and me during the three years we were there.” “While in Tyler, we met some amazing people and gained an exceptional amount of knowledge about the field of pharmacy,” Ethan added.

Ethan completed undergraduate studies at the University of Incarnate Word, while Jac completed his two-year prerequisites, and they both applied to UT Tyler’s pharmacy school together – not knowing if either one would be accepted.

“Our main goal was to be accepted into the same pharmacy class, but we thought, ‘What were the odds in that happening?’ We both got interviews to UT Tyler, with my brother going first and me tagging along to make acquaintances with the pharmacy school staff,” Jac said. “My brother was accepted the week before my interview, and when I found out I also got accepted, we celebrated together as a family.”

They said their mother, who is the director of the radiology department at Val Verde Regional Medical Center in Del Rio, inspired them to study pharmacy and become pharmacists.

“Growing up, she would bring us to work when she would get called in after hours, and those early days were what intrigued us to want to pursue some sort of career in the medical field,” Ethan said. “Specifically, she was in a terrible car accident and made a full recovery after two years. During this time, we witnessed her determination; as well as the power of medicine and how it brought our mother back to normal after being in such a debilitating state.”

When the brothers, who are a year and a half apart in age, weren’t studying together at W.T. Brookshire Hall, they fished on Lake Tyler, played music at Stanley’s Famous BBQ and participated in soccer and hockey intramural leagues on campus.

“I would encourage current UT Tyler pharmacy students to make time for themselves and engage in hobbies that they enjoy doing,” Jac said. “It is very easy to become consumed by the amount of studying you will be doing, but it is also just as important for you to take a mental break and relax.”

Ethan said they not only enjoyed UT Tyler’s campus life, but they also appreciated the pharmacy college’s team-based learning environment, which prepared them for real-world experiences.

“The class interactions with fellow students were a favorite part of the curriculum. There would be a lot of debating, since there is never just one correct answer in the medical world,” Ethan said. “Being that we were the first graduating class, it was a learning experience for all of us to make this new curriculum succeed. The rotations were also set up to give us a well-rounded experience of different pharmacy paths."

They also praised the UT Tyler pharmacy faculty for fully supporting students both inside and outside of the classroom.

“The professors encouraged us and helped us along our educational journey. We were able to email and visit with professors about any questions we had about lectures, rotations and even about life in general,” Ethan said.

Jac recently accepted a consulting position for nursing homes around the Del Rio area, and Ethan currently works for Genoa Healthcare Pharmacy in San Antonio. When not playing music gigs around Texas in their family band, The Family Jewelz, the brothers enjoy outdoor sports, attending live music concerts and spending time with family.

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