BANGOR, Maine — Steven Carr Jr. always enjoyed studying science in school. Carr, 24, of Eddington said Wednesday that he liked figuring out how the world worked, but he wasn’t sure how to turn that curiosity into a career.

Things fell into place for Carr during his late teenage years when he stocked shelves at a Bangor-area Hannaford supermarket. During his breaks, Carr spent time talking to the pharmacists about what their jobs entailed.

In September, Carr will be one of 50 students in the first class at the Husson University School of Pharmacy, a four-year program in which students earn a doctorate. This spring, he is completing his second year of a pre-pharmacy program at the private university in Bangor.

Carr was one of a half-dozen pre-pharmacy students who attended a news conference Wednesday where the Hannaford Charitable Foundation presented Husson with a $100,000 donation to support the program. All of them have been accepted into the new pharmacy program.

“Hannaford is proud of our record supporting the health of communities, associates and customers,” said Mark Polli, director of pharmacy professional services for Hannaford. “The grant is consistent with our long-term commitment to professional pharmacy services and quality health care in the communities we serve.”

The Hannaford money will be used to build the cognitive skills laboratory in Peabody Hall, Husson President William Beardsley said Wednesday.

“Our focus is on preparing Maine students for careers as pharmacists in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont,” he said. “Hannaford operates pharmacies in stores across the region. Our students come from across the same region.

“We are honored by Hannaford’s support and our Pharm.D. graduates will be testament to Hannaford’s trust,” Beardsley said, referring to the Doctor of Pharmacy degree the university will be awarding.

Polli said that a slot at every Hannaford store in New England would be available for Husson School of Pharmacy students to complete their pharmacy education practices.

Response to the new program has been positive, according to Rod Larson, dean of the pharmacy school, with 130 students applying for 50 slots in the first class. Students in Husson’s pre-pharmacy program have filled 32 of the slots, he said.

“We have a pipeline of 50 to 70 students per year coming through our pre-pharmacy program,” he said in a news release. “In Husson tradition, we have set a very competitive tuition of $20,000 per year so our program will be affordable for Maine students. The dream of the vast majority of these students is to become a pharma-cist in Maine or somewhere in northern New England. These are the students Husson prizes.”

The University of New England in Biddeford also will open a pharmacy school this fall.

Husson’s board of trustees in October 2006 approved creation of a pharmacy school. The State Board of Education in June 2007 approved Husson’s plan.

Beardsley said nearly two years ago that the state Department of Labor estimated that Maine needed 40 to 50 new pharmacists every year for the next 10 years. Nationally, 7,000 to 8,000 are needed every year, he said.

Carr said Wednesday he is excited about becoming one of the first graduates of Husson’s School of Pharmacy in 2013.

For information about the program, visit online