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South College student earns degree while being treated for cancer

Jordan Lee walked across the stage Friday, June 23, at the South College School of Pharmacy commencement ceremony held at the Tennessee Theatre, earning his doctorate degree and celebrating one year of being cancer free.

Lee knew from a young age that he would follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and pursue a career in pharmacy. After completing his prerequisite courses at South College, Lee enrolled in the three-year Doctor of Pharmacy program.

“After undergraduate work, I was familiar with the quarter system and South College’s accelerated pace, but I’m not sure anything truly prepares you for pharmacy school,” Lee said.

Nothing could prepare him for what 2016 would bring. In February of that year, Lee was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The diagnosis came only two months after learning that his wife, Leah Lee, was pregnant with their first child. The couple welcomed Addilyn Alivia Lee on September 2, 2016.

As Lee began treatment, he knew that continuing his coursework would be difficult, but he determinedly chose not to take time off from school.

“A lot of it was luck, but a lot of it was help from people at South College who were willing to work with me,” Lee said. “They helped me with my schedule which allowed me to not miss any exams or lectures during my first round of chemotherapy.”

Throughout the last year, Lee has completed three rounds of chemotherapy, undergone two surgeries and did not take a break from his education.

After he graduates Friday, Lee will complete a residency at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tennessee.

South College is a private institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to offer programs at the doctorate, masters, baccalaureate, and associate levels. To learn more about South College, visit

Published June 26, 2017

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