Graduation Banquet Celebrates New and Established Pharmacy Professionals

Annual event recognizes the achievements of the Class of 2013 and bestows honored and honorary alumnus awards on two exemplary members of the pharmacy profession.

Graduation Banquet Celebrates New and Established Pharmacy Professionals

By Malissa Carroll
May 16, 2013

On May 15, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s Alumni Association hosted its annual Graduation Banquet to celebrate the Class of 2013 and recognize the 50-year reunion of the Class of 1963. The event was attended by approximately 300 students, faculty, sponsors, guests, and Alumni Association members.

“The Graduation Banquet is a wonderful event because it brings together those who graduated quite a while ago and those who will be joining their ranks as practicing pharmacists and researchers,” said Natalie D. Eddington, PhD ‘89, FAAPS, FCP, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy. “With rotations and exams over, it is a chance for students to breathe a sigh of relief. Your hard work has paid off and you are ready to participate in a dynamic health care and research climate at a remarkable time in our nation’s history.”

Presented during the banquet were the Evander Frank Kelly Honored Alumnus and the B. Olive Cole Honorary Alumnus Awards.

The Evander Frank Kelly Honored Alumnus Award is presented each year to a School of Pharmacy alumnus who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in the profession of pharmacy through service in local, state, and national pharmacy, government, or civic organizations and is active in the promotion of pharmacy at the University of Maryland. This year’s recipient was Angelo Voxakis, BSP ’71, president and chief executive officer of EPIC Pharmacies.

“Angelo is a proud alumnus of the School of Pharmacy, having served as president of the Alumni Association, establishing a student scholarship in honor of his parents, and assisting the School with its fundraising efforts,” said Hoai-An Truong, PharmD ’05, MPH, president of the Alumni Association. “For his life of service, leadership, and singularly distinctive accomplishments in the profession of pharmacy, I am proud to present him with this award.”

Following his graduation from the School of Pharmacy in 1971, Voxakis worked as a pharmacist at the University of Maryland Hospital for several years before opening his first pharmacy in 1989. Today, he is the president of four businesses, including Hereford Pharmacy, EPIC Pharmacy Network, EPIC Pharmacies, and PharmCAP, and has been appointed to numerous state and local boards, committees, and business advisory boards, including the National Advisory Board for SureScripts, the Governor’s Task Force on Electronic Medical Records, and the Board of Directors of the Maryland Retailers Association.

After accepting his award, Voxakis offered words of advice to the graduating class.

“My father, who immigrated to the United States from Greece, taught me that, as long as you accept the paycheck, give an honest day’s work. Remember to give credit to those who you supervise or employ, because, as personal experience has shown me, they will be instrumental to your success,” said Voxakis. “The School of Pharmacy has given you the tools to be a highly skilled professional, but your education starts now.”

Voxakis, who previously received both the Key to Pharmacy Hall and the School of Pharmacy’s Dean’s Hall of Fame Award for Distinguished Community Pharmacists, also urged students to find a mentor who could help them transition from academia to practice. He cited his brother, George Voxakis, BSP ’58, PharmD ’96, as his mentor and the “wind beneath his wings” since entering the pharmacy profession 42 years ago.

In addition, the B. Olive Cole Honorary Alumnus Award was also presented to a non-alumnus who has demonstrated continued interest and exceptional loyalty and service to the profession of pharmacy in Maryland and whose professional, personal, civic, and philanthropic pursuits reflect the high standards and values associated with the School of Pharmacy and its Alumni Association. This year’s recipient was Daniel Ashby, MS, FASHP, senior director of pharmacy at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“Dan is a true partner of the School of Pharmacy. He has worked with Dean Eddington to re-energize the relationship between the School and Johns Hopkins, resulting in additional practice sites for our clinical faculty and residents, and rotation sites for our pharmacy students,” said Truong. “We are honored to have him as a part of the School of Pharmacy community and recognize his work with this award.”

Ashby received a Master of Science in hospital pharmacy administration and a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from Wayne State University. He began his career at Grace Hospital in Detroit, Mich., before moving to Harper Hospital in 1981, where he was promoted to director of pharmacy. He served as an original member of the task force that wrote the Pharmacy Certified Technician examination and training manual, as well as a member of the Michigan Pharmacy Certified Technician (PCT) Board of Examiners.

After leaving Michigan, Ashby served as director of pharmacy at Methodist Healthcare in Memphis, Tenn., with faculty appointments at the University of Tennessee and University of Mississippi Colleges of Pharmacy. He has held numerous offices in professional organizations and recently completed a six-year term as a member, and later chair, of the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) Accreditation Council, which is responsible for accrediting graduate medical education programs in the United States and Canada.

Although Ashby was unable to attend the banquet to accept his award, Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD ’83, BCPS, CDE, FAPhA, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, read remarks on his behalf.

“I am very thankful to the School of Pharmacy’s Alumni Association for this honor. It is a significant recognition and very much appreciated,” wrote Ashby. “One of the keys to our success with pharmacy practice at the Johns Hopkins Hospital is the success of our collaboration with the University of Maryland, because, through this collaboration, we have developed a sense of community in the greater Baltimore area and a synergy that supports an outcome greater than the sum of its individual parts.”

Following the awards presentation, Truong recognized the service of the Alumni Association’s 2011-2013 Executive Committee and formally installed the new members of the 2013-2014 Executive Committee. Brian Hose, PharmD ’06, incoming president of the Alumni Association, also recognized Truong for his many years of service to the Alumni Association. Attendees spent the rest of the evening celebrating on the dance floor.

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