School of Pharmacy Celebrates at Annual Alumni/Senior Awards Banquet
The evening is hosted by the School’s Alumni Association, whose president, Dolly Harris, spoke on behalf of the group. Associate Professor Michael Wincor was master of ceremonies.
Josephine Heeres was recognized with the Honorary Alumna Award at the dinner. Along with her husband, Josephine Heeres has been among the School’s most ardent supporters for decades. Together, they established the William A. and Josephine A. Heeres Chair in Community Pharmacy – the first of its kind in the nation. They also created a matching gift program that raised over $1 million in gifts and pledges to renovate the School’s teaching facilities. Additionally, they donated to create a lab where students learn compounding pharmacy techniques.
Steven Chen, PharmD (’89), received the Outstanding Alumnus Award. Chen is an associate professor at the School of Pharmacy, where he holds the Hygeia Centennial Chair in Clinical Pharmacy. He has been instrumental in improving medication-related quality and safety for underserved patients through local safety net clinics and the national HRSA Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative. Chen was honored for his work as a leader in the field of pharmacy, showing the vital impact of the pharmacist on the health care team and taking that message to other healthcare colleagues and elected officials nationwide. Chen is also a co-investigator on a $12 million federal grant, the largest grant ever awarded to the School, which is further expanding work in the safety net and measuring the impact of pharmacist services in primary care settings.
Receiving the Preceptor of the Year Award was Jeremy Lem, who earned both his BS and PharmD at USC. Over the course of his career, Lem has held positions as pharmacist, pharmacist-in-charge, pharmacy manager, pharmacy trainer and director of pharmacy personnel. He has had a career marked by both depth and breadth, including serving as special projects manager for Thrifty Payless when they initially established HIV/AIDS pharmacies – the first time a major pharmacy chain created a disease-state specialty division. At USC, he has assisted in the creation of the OTC/self-care course and he has been a preceptor in the community practice rotation since 2001.
In addition to these awards, 27 student awards were presented throughout the evening. Among them, the Merck Award was given to the four students with the highest grade point averages: Dean Hanna, Chrissie Chew, Serena Smith and Leonid Beygelman. Beygelman is graduating with a 4.0. Class President Zain Al-Shamiyeh spoke on behalf of the Class of 2013.
Seventeen members of the Class of ’63 attended, including associate dean of student/faculty affairs and admissions, Fred Weissman; Board of Councilors chair Bill Heeres; and Board of Councilors member Keith La Fond. Each member of the Class of ’63 was presented a medal by Dr. Weissman and Dr. Harris, marking their 50 years in the pharmacy profession.
The evening ended on a resounding note provided by the Trojan Band.