Former surgeon general to speak at pharmacy commencement

photo of richard carmonaSPOKANE, Wash. – Richard Carmona, former surgeon general of the United States, will be the keynote speaker at the commencement ceremony of the Washington State University College of Pharmacy at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 7, at Martin Woldson Theater at the FOX.

Carmona is an advocate of health literacy and prevention as effective means to improve public health and reduce healthcare costs. He served as surgeon general under President George W. Bush 2002-06, during which he issued the landmark Surgeon’s General Report about the dangers of second-hand smoke and warnings about obesity in America.

A Special Forces Vietnam veteran, he earned a degree from the University of California Medical School in San Francisco; served as surgeon and deputy sheriff at the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in Tucson, Ariz., and completed a master’s degree in public health policy and administration.

Carmona’s interest in public health stemmed from the realization that most of his patients’ illnesses were preventable. As surgeon general, he focused on prevention, preparedness, health disparities, health literacy and global health.

He is chief executive officer and vice chairman of the health and wellness company Canyon Ranch. He serves as president of the nonprofit Canyon Ranch Institute and is a distinguished professor of public health at the University of Arizona.

Carmona’s selection as the commencement speaker for pharmacy is in keeping with the college’s practice to bring thought leaders to campus. Last year’s speaker, Susan C. Winckler, was a former FDA administrator, and prior to that Rear Adm. Scott Giberson, a deputy surgeon general and pharmacist, delivered the keynote address.

News media interested in interview availability should contact Lori Maricle at, or at 509-368-6679. Carmona may be available for interviews based on interest and time allowance.

[March 13, 2015] Lori J. Maricle