School of Pharmacy Celebrates the Class of 2017 at Convocation

More than 200 PharmD and graduate students receive degrees and embark on the next phase of their lives.

By Malissa Carroll
May 19, 2017

Family, friends, faculty, preceptors, and staff looked on with pride as the newest Doctors of Pharmacy from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy walked across the stage to receive their doctoral hoods at the School’s annual convocation ceremony held at the Hilton Baltimore Hotel on May 19.

In her opening remarks, Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School, highlighted some of the numerous accomplishments that the Class of 2017 has achieved over the past four years. She commended the graduates for their ambition, leadership, and camaraderie, and encouraged them to follow the examples set by the School’s Founding Pharmapreneurs – including individuals such as George Avery Bunting, valedictorian of the Class of 1899, founder of Noxzema, CoverGirl Cosmetics, and the Noxell Corporation; and Alpheus P. Sharp, Class of 1842, and Louis Dohme, Class of 1857, co-founders of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. – and use their passion and enthusiasm to help advance the pharmacy profession and impact patient care in a visible, sustainable manner.

“Our Founding Pharmapreneurs dared, dreamed, and never backed down from the challenges and obstacles that they encountered along the way,” she said. “They did not take the easy route. Instead, they took an idea, a concept, or a vision, and turned it into reality. As new practitioners, you have amazing opportunities in front of you to be critical thinkers, and to solve the perennial, long-term problems that face health care, research, and society today. Follow the examples set by our Founding Pharmapreneurs who chose to be innovators and creators. Challenge the status quo approach to health care in this country.”

Rear Admiral Pamela Schweitzer, PharmD, BCACP, chief pharmacy officer for the United States Public Health Services, was chosen by the Class of 2017 as the keynote speaker for convocation in honor of her extraordinary dedication to improving pharmacy services across the federal government and her leadership of pharmacy programs and professional affairs for the Office of the Surgeon General and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. In her speech, Schweitzer passed down words of professional advice and guidance that she has received throughout her career.

“You are coming into the pharmacy profession at a time when health care is rapidly changing in response to trends in health care payment reform, improving quality outcomes, and increasing patient empowerment,” she said. “Although it is exciting to know that each of you are going to be part of this transformation, you must be mindful that with this esteemed degree also comes responsibility and expectations. The School of Pharmacy has prepared you to be leaders, innovators, and lifelong learners. You are true professionals now, and well-respected members of society. Use your influence to make positive changes within your profession and your communities.”

Brent Reed, PharmD, BCPS-AQ Cardiology, FAHA, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS); and Fengtian Xue, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC); with assistance from Cherokee Layson-Wolf, PharmD, BCACP, FAPhA, associate professor in PPS and associate dean for student affairs, joined Eddington in presenting graduates with their doctoral hoods to signify their completion of the highest professional degree in pharmacy.

“Donning the traditional olive colored pharmacy hood represents the fact that you have entered a caring profession that depends upon your proper use of scientific and clinical knowledge,” said Eddington. “You must care for your patients with compassion as well as intelligence. You will be trusted by patients – do not underestimate the importance of that trust, nor treat it lightly. You will have an impact on peoples’ lives.”

Fifteen students graduating from the School’s PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) and PhD in PSC programs received their hoods during the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Graduate School ceremony on May 18. The MS in Regulatory Science program also hosted its second convocation in Pharmacy Hall on May 18 to celebrate its more than 30 graduates.

“The MS in Regulatory Science program allowed me to build a foundational knowledge of the laws, regulations, and good manufacturing processes mandated by agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and its international counterparts,” said Aicha Moutanni, laboratory research specialist at the University of Maryland School of Nursing and member of the program’s Class of 2017. “I loved every minute of learning, and never shied away from any challenge that the program presented. I extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to Dr. James Polli for his excellent leadership and guidance, and for making regulatory science a reality for my career.”

The School’s MS in Pharmacometrics program also celebrated its fourth graduating class, which included 10 students.

Following the School’s morning convocation ceremony, graduates assembled in the afternoon for a campus-wide graduation ceremony at the Royal Farms Arena, where William P. Magee, Jr., DDS, MD, chief executive officer and co-founder of Operation Smile, delivered the keynote address.

To see more highlights from this momentous occasion, please watch the video below and visit the School of Pharmacy’s Facebook page.

PharmD Class of 2017 Awards and Prizes:

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