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School of Pharmacy Celebrates the Class of 2019 at Convocation

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

Class of 2019 poses for group photo on the stairs of the Baltimore Convention Center.

May 17, 2019

The month of May marks an incredibly exciting time for the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, as faculty and staff join family and friends in celebrating students’ graduation from the School’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and Master of Science (MS) programs. For the Class of 2019, this celebration spanned two days, and culminated with the School’s annual PharmD convocation ceremony held at the Baltimore Convention Center on May 17.

In her opening remarks at the convocation ceremony, which highlighted the achievements of the PharmD Class of 2019, Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School, spoke about some of the class’s most noteworthy accomplishments from the past four years. She commended the graduates for their commitment to completing their pharmacy education, noting that some students had not only overcome significant personal challenges to finish their education, but also pursued additional opportunities along the way, including the completion of a dual degree, involvement in a wide range of community and global health projects, and election to local and national student leadership roles.

“Today marks the beginning of a celebration of what is to come for each of you as members of one of the most rewarding professions – pharmacy,” said Eddington. “As your fellow alumni will tell you, there is something about the experience you have had as a student at our School that will energize you and give you the confidence and the fearlessness to set out on a path to extraordinary success. Challenge the status quo approach to health care in this country. Use your passion and your enthusiasm to drive our profession to truly impact patient care in a more visible, sustainable manner focused on delivering positive health care outcomes.”

Timothy Ulbrich, PharmD, professor and director of the Master’s in Health System Pharmacy Administration at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy and co-founder and chief executive officer for Your Financial Pharmacist, was selected by the Class of 2019 as the keynote speaker for convocation. In his speech, Ulbrich acknowledged the challenges currently facing the pharmacy profession as a result of advancements across the fields of technology and health care. He emphasized that embracing a pharmapreneurial mindset will help graduates not only overcome those obstacles, but also transform the profession to better meet patients’ needs.

“All great movements, ideas, and businesses start by identifying a problem that needs to be solved,” said Ulbrich. “The good news for us: there is no shortage of problems to be solved in our health care system. We have a system that needs better quality care at a lower cost. We have a system in which we know patients’ health would benefit from more time with you — their pharmacist — but often reimbursement mechanisms don’t recognize this value. And, we have a system that has a shortage of primary care providers across the country, particularly in underserved areas.”

He added, “All of these are problems that need to be solved, and are problems that need pharmacists with pharmapreneurial mindsets to solve them. As members of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s Class of 2019, you have an opportunity, through having a pharmapreneurial spirit, to lead our profession into the future and to make better the lives of the patients we serve each and every day.”

Lisa Jones, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC); and Julia Slejko, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR); with assistance from Cherokee Layson-Wolf, PharmD, BCACP, FAPhA, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (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 with intelligence. You will be trusted by your patients – do not underestimate the importance of that trust nor treat it lightly. You will have an impact on people’s lives. Make it a positive one.”

Ten students graduating from the School’s PhD in PHSR and PhD in PSC programs received their hoods during the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Graduate School ceremony on May 16. The MS in Regulatory Science program also hosted its fourth convocation in Pharmacy Hall on May 16 to celebrate its nearly 30 graduates, including two dual degree students from the School’s PharmD program.

“We are in the midst of a scientific revolution that is changing and expanding the opportunities we have to transform the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of many diseases,” said Rear Admiral Denise Hinton, BSN, MS, chief scientist for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who delivered the keynote address for the MS in Regulatory Science program’s convocation ceremony. “The program you are graduating from today is a shining example of the kind of education that did not exist until just a few years ago – a program that makes it possible for students like yourselves to be exposed to the many questions and challenges presented by new science and emerging technologies that are not necessarily offered in the course of traditional training. Thank you for coming here today from near and far to celebrate this important milestone in your careers.”

The School’s MS in Pharmacometrics program also celebrated its sixth graduating class. This year’s graduating class featured eight students who now possess the skills and knowledge necessary to plan, perform, and interpret pharmacometric analyses with the goal of influencing key drug development, regulatory, and therapeutic decisions.

The School of Pharmacy’s convocation ceremony followed the University’s campus-wide graduation ceremony at the Royal Farms Arena, where Barbara Pierce Bush, co-founder and board chair of Global Health Corps, delivered the keynote address. Robert Beardsley, PhD, MS, professor and vice chair for administration in PHSR, served as honorary University marshal during the ceremony. Victoria Hale, BSP ’83, PhD, founder and director of OneWorldHealth and Medicines 360, and one of the School of Pharmacy’s Founding Pharmapreneurs, was also presented with an honorary Doctor of Science degree at the event, for which she was nominated by the School.

“Dr. Hale is a true leader who fosters innovation and change wherever she goes,” said Eddington. “She has made a career out of helping people, either by working to bring better health care to the poorest members or society or by ensuring that clinical trials are inclusive of all people regardless of race or sex. The School of Pharmacy is fortunate to have her as one of our alumni, and we are thrilled to have this opportunity to honor her for all that she has achieved throughout her career.”

To view more photos and video from this momentous occasion, please visit the School of Pharmacy’s Facebook page.

PharmD and MS in Regulatory Science Class of 2019 Awards and Prizes:

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