The USC School of Pharmacy marked its 115th Commencement on the afternoon of Friday, May 13 before an audience of more than 2,000 family, friends, faculty and staff.
Dean Vassilios Papadopoulos presided over the event in the tented Broad Lawn quad on the USC Health Sciences Campus, advising graduates — the new pharmacists, pharmacologists, pharmaceutical scientists, health economists and regulatory experts — to consider the incredible heritage of the pharmacy profession while embracing the mission to transform the face of pharmacy.
“Today we look forward, not backward,” he said. “As you enter a world of possibilities, changes and uncertainties, my advice is to always have a purpose that will guide you through life.”
The following degrees were awarded:
• 199 Doctor of Pharmacy
• 5 Doctor of Philosophy (Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics)
• 4 Doctor of Philosophy (Health Economics)
• 5 Doctor of Philosophy (Molecular Pharmacology & Toxicology)
• 4 Doctor of Philosophy (Pharmaceutical Sciences)
• 10 Doctor of Regulatory Science
• 2 Master of Science (Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy)
• 57 Master of Science (Health Care Decision Analysis)
• 9 Master of Science (Management of Drug Development)
• 3 Master of Science (Molecular Pharmacology & Toxicology)
• 10 Master of Science (Pharmaceutical Sciences)
• 2 Master of Science (Regulatory Management)
• 18 Master of Science (Regulatory Science)
• 20 Bachelor of Science (Pharmacology and Drug Development)
The featured commencement speaker was George Scangos, chief executive officer of Vir Biotechnology, who spoke about the opportunities and challenges ahead for the graduates as they begin their careers. “You are entering a world that is dynamic and changing,” he said. “The facts you know now are a fraction of what you’ll need in the future.”
He encouraged the graduates to be curious, think critically, be confident in themselves, and decisive. “Stay humble when things are going great, stay resolute when things are not,” he said. “Remember why all of us are doing what we’re doing: to improve the lives of patients who need help. ”
Speaking on behalf of the PharmD graduates was Tiffanie Lin, president of the PharmD class of 2022, who shared how her experience being treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at USC Norris Cancer Center inspired her to return to campus to pursue her doctor of pharmacy degree.
“I want you all to think back to what motivated you to come here and congratulate yourself for getting this far,” she said. “Remember that success should be measured by your own standards and by what is important to you.”
Hugo Avila, who accepted his PhD in molecular pharmacology and toxicology, spoke on behalf of the master’s and PhD graduates from departments across the school, encouraging them to remember that their disciplines are all about improving the human condition.
“We persevered through a time that was unprecedented,” he said. “What we do gives people hope. It was the efforts of scientists and clinicians that made it possible.”
Additionally, 20 students accepted their bachelor of science degrees from Daryl Davies, PhD, the associate dean for undergraduate education.
Thirty-three pharmacists were recognized for completing residency training along with 20 individuals who received certificates marking the conclusion of their fellowship programs.
PharmD graduate Kristin Wong and bachelor of science graduate George Michael were the flag and banner bearers in the processional. Patrick Tabon, PharmD, led the new pharmacists in recitation of the Oath of a Pharmacist. Annie Wong-Beringer, associate dean for research, recognized the many parents, spouses, significant others, children, family and friends in the audience, asking them to stand and be celebrated.
Graduates toasted each other with champagne and sparkling cider, and the Trojan Marching Band performed as the ceremony concluded.
To view photos from the 115th USC School of Pharmacy Commencement, please click here.