SPOKANE, Wash. – Thursday the Washington State University College of Pharmacy celebrated the accomplishments of 82 graduates at its 2015 Commencement Ceremony. Faculty, family and friends gathered at the Fox Theater in downtown Spokane to honor the newly minted alumni of the WSU Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Doctor of Pharmacy programs.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona gave the keynote address, “From apothecary to pharmacogenomics: evolving the pharmacist of the future.” He challenged the graduates to look to addressing preventable disease in order to improve public health.
“I think you’re coming into pharmacy at no better time in the history of pharmacy,” said Carmona. “I’ve been very closely aligned with the pharmacy profession for many years, including my time as surgeon general. The pharmacists were some of my best leaders, not just as pharmacists but as leaders in the diverse set of opportunities that came up.”
Carmona shared his experiences working with pharmacists who took on additional roles to protect the country, including Rear Admiral Scott Giberson who delivered the commencement keynote to WSU pharmacy graduates in 2013. Carmona spoke of how pharmacists brought a special analytic, thoughtful and scientific ability to the table that made them great leaders.
“The pharmacist of the future will continue to be a leader and equal partner in a diverse multi-disciplinary prevention and health care team within the medical or health care home,” said Carmona.
He challenged the new pharmacists to pick up the baton as health counselor as pharmacy becomes more complex with the development of pharmacogenomics, individualized pharmacology and personalized medicine.
“You have the opportunity, privilege and responsibility to make the world a healthier, safer and more secure place,” said Carmona. “Keep your dreams just beyond your reach and your integrity beyond reproach, and the world will prosper from your presence.”
Senior awards were given out at a special luncheon the previous day, following the commencement rehearsal. The 2015 Doctor of Pharmacy student awardees were:

  • Cassandra Song: APhA-ASP Senior Recognition
    For the greatest contribution to advancing pharmacy profession through outstanding service to American Pharmacist Association-Associated Student Pharmacists.
  • Azuka Nwude: WSU College of Pharmacy Faculty Award
    For outstanding grades, membership and participation in pharmacy organizations, and work characteristics as evidenced in the laboratory, classes and internships.
  • Naon Shin: Lilly & Co. Achievement Award
    For superior scholastic achievement in the professional curriculum; leadership qualities; strong professional attitude.
  • Mark Goff: Natural Medicines Recognition
    For exhibited interest and expertise related to natural medicines, including efforts to minimize adverse effects due to inappropriate use and to encourage evidence-based approach to natural medicines.
  • Alla Aldughli: TEVA Pharmaceuticals USA Outstanding Student
    For excellence in the study of pharmacy.
  • Shurrie Dugas: U.S. Public Health Service Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Award
    For Demonstrating a true commitment to public health initiatives throughout the professional program.
  • Nolan Koller: Facts and Comparisons Excellence in Clinical Communication Award
    For being in the top 25% of the class and demonstrating superior verbal and written clinical communication skills.
  • Clell Hasenbank and Alex Jensen: Merck Award for Outstanding Students
    For two students with highest GPA in the class.
  • Michelle Fehrnstrom: Mylan Pharmaceuticals Excellence in Pharmacy
    For being in top 25% of the class and demonstrating high professional motivation and the intent to enter practice upon graduation.
  • Mark Goff, Skeinah Samadi, Cassandra Song, Mynogoc Son, and Bridget Eller: Cardinal Health Award
    For future pharmacy owners who have begun the process of making ownership a reality.

[May 8, 2015] Lori J. Maricle