School of Pharmacy Salutes the Graduating Class of 2017

The USC School of Pharmacy marked its 110th Commencement on the afternoon of Friday, May 12 before an audience of more than 1,500 family, friends, faculty and staff.

Dean Vassilios Papadopoulos presided over the event in the tented Health Sciences Campus quad, advising graduates – the new pharmacists, pharmacologists or pharmaceutical scientists, health economists or regulatory experts – that they are entering the healthcare continuum at an auspicious but uncertain time.

“You are now the drivers of change and innovation that has the potential to save lives and improve human condition,” Papadopoulos said.

The following degrees were awarded:

• 179 Doctor of Pharmacy
• 4 Doctor of Philosophy  (Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics)
• 5 Doctor of Philosophy  (Molecular Pharmacology & Toxicology)
• 4 Doctor of Philosophy  (Pharmaceutical Sciences)
• 5 Doctor of Philosophy  (Health Economics – Pharmaceutical Economics & Policy)
• 5 Doctor of Regulatory Science
• 1 Master of Science (Molecular Pharmacology & Toxicology)
• 6 Master of Science (Pharmaceutical Sciences)
• 30 Master of Science  (Health Care Decision Analysis)
• 10 Master of Science  (Management of Drug Development)
• 39 Master of Science  (Regulatory Science)
• 2 Master of Science  (Medical Product Quality)

Additionally, 35 pharmacists were recognized for completing residency training along with eight individuals who received certificates marking the conclusion of their fellowship programs.

“Together, we can do better for the people of California”

The featured commencement speaker was Dr. Jessica Núñez de Ybarra of the California Department of Public Health, co-author of the California Wellness Plan. Núñez de Ybarra reminded the graduates of the role they can play in preventable chronic diseases and injuries.

“Together, we can do better for the people of California,” she told the graduates. “You will see people on their best and worst of days … you will appreciate that many of the solutions to our health problems will come from outside of a medicine bottle and require the collaboration of many people, including the community.”

Speaking on behalf of the graduates was Amanda Vu, president of the PharmD class, and Zoe Folchman-Wagner, PhD, who represented the master’s and PhD graduates from departments across the School.

“We share a passion, a passion to be in healthcare, drug discovery, and patient advocacy,” Vu told her classmates. “Passion that unites us to move our profession forward to improve the state of healthcare for all. Standing here today, we’ve all proven our passion.”

Folchman-Wagner advised the newly minted graduates never to forget the sense of wonder they had as children and why they decided to embark on this academic journey.

“With these degrees, we have the power to make a real and lasting difference,” she said. “Let’s stand up for science, because science matters. What we’ve done here matters. Remember that, and be proud.”

Khan Akram and William Duong were the flag and banner bearers in the processional. Associate Professor Michael Z. Wincor led the new pharmacists in a recitation of the “Oath of a Pharmacist.”

A reception took place immediately following the ceremony on the Health Sciences Campus upper quad.

Miss the 2017 USC School of Pharmacy Commencement Ceremony? View photos and video of the event.