Thursday, May 3, the Washington State University College of Pharmacy celebrated the accomplishments of one Ph.D. and one master of pharmaceutical sciences, and 132 Doctor of Pharmacy graduates at its 2018 Commencement Ceremony. Family, faculty and friends gathered at the Fox Theater in downtown Spokane to honor the new alumni of the college.

Linda Evans Parlette
Linda Evans Parlette

Former Washington Senator Linda Evans Parlette gave the keynote address and shared insights as a pharmacist advocating for public health while serving in the state legislature.

“The pharmacist of today will be known as part of a patient management team, and not just in hospital or clinical settings,” Parlette said.

As a WSU alumna, Parlette expressed pride that the college’s graduates have been prepared to practice “at the top of their profession,” and that in places like Washington state pharmacists are formally recognized as health care providers. In 2015, Parlette sponsored legislation that made Washington the first state in the country to require insurance carriers to recognize pharmacists in the same way as other providers. Not all states have this kind of legislation in place and insurance companies routinely refuse to reimburse pharmacists for the growing number of services they provide.

“I am inspired about all of the opportunities that the future holds for each and every one of you,” Parlette said.

She challenged the graduates to be open to change, have courage and the right attitude, and to “keep a song in your heart.”

student shakes hands with the dean
Dean Gary Pollack congratulates Doctor of Pharmacy graduate Karl Nacalaban at commencement May 3.

Student speakers at the ceremony were Ph.D. graduate Solomon Agere, and pharmacy graduate Karl Nacalaban.

Senior awards were given out at a special luncheon the previous day, following the commencement rehearsal. The 2018 Doctor of Pharmacy student awardees were:

James Kent: APhA-ASP Senior Recognition
For the greatest contribution to advancing the pharmacy profession through outstanding service to the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists.

James Kent and Kathryn Rand: 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.

Elizabeth D’Andrea: Lilly & Co. Achievement
For superior scholastic achievement in the professional curriculum, leadership qualities, and strong professional attitude.

Juliet Nguyen: Facts and Comparisons Excellence in Clinical Communication
For being in the top 25 percent of the class and demonstrating superior verbal and written clinical communication skills.

Haleigh Miller, Lauren Wagner, Shauna Leggett, and Megan Lenz: Merck Award for Outstanding Students
For students with the highest GPA in the class.

Jihan Haji: Mylan Pharmaceuticals Excellence in Pharmacy
For being in the top 25 percent of the class and demonstrating high professional motivation and the intent to enter practice upon graduation.

Haleigh Miller: Larry G. Bettesworth Pharmacy Student Award
This award, in honor of Larry G. Bettesworth, is given to an outstanding WSU College of Pharmacy student pursuing training in a health-system residency program. The award was presented by Sean Dobbin, regional director of pharmacy at Providence Health Care