UCSF School of Pharmacy celebrates commencement 2015

The UCSF School of Pharmacy held its 2015 commencement ceremony on May 8 at Louise Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, conferring doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degrees on a 125-member graduating class.

Addressing the large gathering including hundreds of graduates’ friends and family members, School faculty on stage, and specially invited guests, Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, remarked on the notable diversity of the graduates, more than a quarter of whom were born in other nations.

Leading the procession of graduates as honorary marshal and delivering the commencement address was 2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Rear Admiral Pamela Schweitzer, PharmD ’87, assistant surgeon general and chief pharmacy officer in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS).

Pepa receives Bowl of Hygeia

Ceremony highlights included the presentation of the Bowl of Hygeia Award, the School’s highest honor bestowed upon a graduating student. The award’s five nominees are chosen by classmates as those who “best exemplify the qualities most desirable in a pharmacist.”

The 2015 recipient of the Bowl of Hygeia, selected by a second round of voting by faculty and students, is Patricia Pepa, PharmD. She will begin a first-year postgraduate residency (PGY1) at UC San Diego in July. Pepa was presented the award by Robert Levin, PharmD ’64, president of the UCSF Pharmacy Alumni Association and a professor emeritus of the School’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy.

Also called forward for special recognition as Bowl of Hygeia nominees were:

  • Katherine Gruenberg, PharmD, who will pursue a PGY1 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Timothy Mok, PharmD, who will undertake his PGY1 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
  • Benjamin Parcher, PharmD, who will begin a health outcomes and managed markets fellowship with the Xcenda consultancy in Tampa, Florida.
  • Amanda Sugay, PharmD, who will join biotech company Genentech’s commercial rotation development program, which develops scientific and business leaders.

Schweitzer delivers address

In introducing Schweitzer as commencement speaker, Guglielmo noted that she “has energetically assumed assignments where the greatest needs exist, including selection of the most isolated and remote areas.”

Schweitzer rose to leadership in the USPHS by serving in Indian Health Service (IHS), Veterans Administration, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services postings ranging from South Dakota to Arizona to Maryland, where she distinguished herself by expanding clinical services, advancing pharmacy technology, and creating the IHS residency program.

In her address, Schweitzer asserted, “You couldn’t have picked a better time to graduate and to be a pharmacist. Our nation is undergoing a massive transformation in health care delivery and payment reform. And with the passage of SB493 [the 2014 California law that expanded pharmacists’ scope of practice] you’re going to have the opportunity and responsibility of paving the future way of the pharmacy profession.”

Doctor of pharmacy degrees were officially conferred upon the class of 2015 by UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. The newly minted pharmacists were given their olive, blue and gold hoods by Guglielmo, assisted by Hawgood; Levin; Vice Dean Sharon Youmans, PharmD ‘85, MPH; and Associate Dean of Student and Curricular Affairs Donald Kishi, PharmD ’68.

As they did at their White Coat ceremony nearly four years before, the graduates reaffirmed the Oath of a Pharmacist (1 page, PDF). This time they were led by Glenn Yokoyama, PharmD, a beloved faculty member in the School’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy, who will be retiring in June after a career of hospital clinical practice, public service, and teaching that has spanned more than half a century.

Turning to face their assembled families and friends, the graduating class began by repeating after Yokoyama: “I promise to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy….”

Nguyen and Lu

Linda Nguyen, PharmD, (left) and Yiting Lu, PharmD, prepare backstage before the commencement ceremony.

Desai and Kroon

Chair of the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Tejal Desai, PhD, (left) and chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Lisa Kroon, PharmD, arrive for commencement.

Graduates enter

Families and friends watch as the graduates enter the hall.


Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, presides at the podium.

Pepa and Levin

2015 Bowl of Hygeia recipient Patricia Pepa, PharmD, with presenter and president of the UCSF Pharmacy Alumni Association Robert Levin, PharmD ’64.

Cutler, Brock, Watchmaker

(Left to right) Two faculty members in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy—Timothy Cutler, PharmD, and Associate Dean Tina Brock, MS, EdD—arrive for commencement, as Associate Dean Cynthia Watchmaker, MBA, MEd, looks on.

Five Hygeia nominees

The five nominees for the 2015 Bowl of Hygeia, the School’s highest honor for graduating students: (from left to right) Amanda Sugay, PharmD; Benjamin Parcher, PharmD; Patricia Pepa, PharmD; Timothy Mok, PharmD; Katherine Gruenberg, PharmD.

Kabue receives hood

Samuel Kabue, PharmD, receives his doctoral hood from Dean Guglielmo.

Graduates cheer

The newly hooded doctor of pharmacy graduates cheer for their classmates.

Faculty applauds from stage

Dean Guglielmo leads faculty members, pharmacy residents, and distinguished guests in a final round of applause for the new graduates.

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.