SPOKANE, Wash.—Thursday the Washington State University College of Pharmacy celebrated the accomplishments of 121 graduates at its 2016 Commencement Ceremony. Faculty, family and friends gathered at the Fox Theater in downtown Spokane to honor the newly minted alumni of the college.

Pharmacy Quality Alliance Executive Director Laura Cranston gave the keynote address and urged the graduates to find their passion within pharmacy, whether it be in practice, research, academia, advocacy, management, public service, or other pathway.

“It is your responsibility to become an integral partner in team-based care and to help patients manage their medication therapy,” she said.

With this charge, Cranston urged the graduates to take their infectious Cougar spirit and WSU community and apply these ideals to the triple aim of better care, smarter spending and healthier communities to create a long-lasting and comprehensive community of patients and practitioners.

Cranston challenged the graduates to find their passion, find their work-life balance, give back, and continue to cultivate their network through mentors.

“As you embark on your career you will earn the respect of the patients you serve, and you have the opportunity to make a difference in patients’ lives every day,” she said.

Senior awards were given out at a special luncheon the previous day, following the commencement rehearsal. The 2016 Doctor of Pharmacy student awardees were:

  • Uchechukwu Azikiwe: APhA-ASP Senior Recognition
    For the greatest contribution to advancing pharmacy profession through outstanding service to American Pharmacist Association-Associated Student Pharmacists.
  • Madison Block: 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.
  • Roger Barnhart: Lilly & Co. Achievement Award
    For superior scholastic achievement in the professional curriculum; leadership qualities; strong professional attitude.
  • Kathleen Anne Nusbaum: 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.
  • Ryan Nottingham: TEVA Pharmaceuticals USA Outstanding Student
    For excellence in the study of pharmacy.
  • Eric Wilson: 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.
  • Juanita Armenta and Josh Burwell: Merck Award for Outstanding Students
    For two students with highest GPA in the class.
  • James Leonard: 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.
  • Patrick Stolz and Jeffrey Nye: Cardinal Health Award
    For future pharmacy owners who have begun the process of making ownership a reality.
  • Patrick Stolz: WSU College of Pharmacy faculty selected PY4 Student of the Year
  • Stephanie Inouye: Larry G. Bettesworth Health System Pharmacy Student Award from Providence Health Care Foundation in Spokane
    For a graduating pharmacist interested in pursuing continued training in a health-system pharmacy residency.

[May 13, 2016] By: Lori J. Maricle