Following Her Family

UT Tyler Alumna Returns Home to Work at Father’s Pharmacy

Publication Date: 01/24/2020

Haley Shipman Holley grew up just a few blocks from her family’s pharmacy in Jasper, Texas. As a child, Holley ate candy from the front display shelves while sneaking rides on the electric wheelchairs inside.

Unknown to her at the time, she would return to work there as a third-generation pharmacist alongside her father and with her grandfather’s memory in mind.

“We still have equipment here in the pharmacy that dates back to my grandfather’s early days, and since we never met, it makes me feel close to him,” said Holley, who graduated in UT Tyler Fisch College of Pharmacy’s inaugural class. “I know he would be proud of me.”

Gee Shipman Pharmacy has been a family business since 1981, when Holley’s father and grandfather bought the business together. The business was established by George Gee in 1961, which is where the “Gee” in the name comes from. When Holley’s grandfather died in 1992, her father became the sole owner.

“It is an honor to fill prescriptions for people who I’ve known my whole life and who cheered me on and watched me grow up,” she said. “To now give back and take care of them has been very special to me.”

She thanks her father for putting her on the pharmacy career path. At the start of her undergraduate studies at UT Tyler, Holley originally majored in business, shying away from a career in pharmacy.

“I was a little intimidated by how smart my dad was and didn’t think I could do it,” she said. “I went home for Christmas break after my first semester, and my dad asked me about school. The conversation snowballed into ‘Haley, you are smart enough to do pharmacy. Why don’t you just give it a try?’”

After her father’s encouragement, she changed majors and enrolled in UT Tyler’s pharmacy program upon completing her undergraduate studies at the University. 

“I came back in January, took a leap of faith and changed my major to biology with the pre-pharmacy coursework worked in,” Holley said. “The rest is history.”

She said she enjoyed the small class sizes and networking opportunities UT Tyler provided.

“UT Tyler was a very personable university,” Holley said. “You learn a lot differently when your professors know you by your first name. UT Tyler also worked really hard by plugging our pharmacy class into the community. We were constantly given new opportunities to get involved and know leaders of pharmacy in both the city and East Texas.”

Holley, who also works part time for Brookshire Grocery Co., holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a Pharm.D., both from UT Tyler.

She and her husband, Joshua, spend their time between Jasper and Tyler. She enjoys being a freelance makeup artist while in Tyler and exploring with her miniature beagle, Darla.

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UT Tyler