Class of 2020 student pharmacists don their white coats

The 126 students of the UCSF School of Pharmacy’s class of 2020 donned their white coats for the first time on October 14, 2016, in an afternoon ceremony that symbolized their entry into the profession.

The first-year student pharmacists were joined at Cole Hall on the Parnassus campus by a packed house of family and friends, as well as by distinguished School partners, alumni, and faculty,who served as “coaters” on stage.

Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, and UCSF Pharmacy Alumni Association President Brian Komoto, PharmD ’81, welcomed the students and audience. Guglielmo noted that this year’s entering class includes students whose countries of origin range from Argentina to Nigeria to Uzbekistan. While their most common majors were in biology and biochemistry, some incoming students hold degrees in botany, nutrition, psychology, and sociology.

Faculty member Janel Long-Boyle, PharmD, PhD, whose practice and translational research focuses on pediatric cancer treatments, delivered an evocative talk titled, “An Introductory Lesson in Astronomy by a Clinical Pharmacist.”


Janel Long-Boyle, PharmD, PhD

“Your crash course in astronomy starts now,” said Long-Boyle, “the very moment your hands slip into the sleeves of your crisp white coat. Lesson number one, as you sit here, is: You are no longer the center of your universe….

“To your patients, you will be that shining star, a guardian of their universe and their loved ones. You will be relentlessly pulled by gravity into galaxies of acute and chronic disease and drug therapy…. And this responsibility you now hold for others and their care no longer begins and ends at the start and stop of an eight-hour shift.”

After the official bestowal of their white coats, the incoming class heard reflections “On Becoming a Pharmacist,” from fourth-year student pharmacist Daryush Tabatabai. He began in an impromptu manner, describing a complex pediatric case he had seen earlier the same day during hospital rounds with an interdisciplinary team of specialists. Noting some uncertainly on the part of the child’s mother, Tabatabai stayed behind and took extra time to address her lingering questions.


Daryush Tabatabai

It was a reminder, he told the class, “You’re embarking on a journey that makes you not just pharmacists, but you’re becoming caregivers. And that means more than just talking about drugs, it means filling a void in health care and filling the gap … [with] what you can supplement to that patient.”

The event was further highlighted by the class taking the Oath of a Pharmacist, administered by Lisa Kroon, PharmD, chair of the School’s Department of Clinical Pharmacy. Turning to face family and friends who, Kroon noted, “symbolically represent your future patients,” the students began: “I promise to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy.”

Lui, Matthews, McCann

Facing the audience together, the newly coated students take their pledge of professionalism—the Oath of a Pharmacist. Foreground, L to R: Anthony Lui, James Matthews, Colleen McCann.

students holding white coats

The White Coat Ceremony is a meaningful yearly tradition in which the School welcomes first-year student pharmacists as colleagues dedicated to patient care. During this event, entering students receive a white coat, the symbol of clinical service and care.

Argueta, Allen, Larry-Sar

L to R: First-year student pharmacists Marvin Argueta, Justin Allen, and Daryl Larry-Sar

group of six students wearing white coats

Left to right: Zhuofan (Jenny) Wen, Shirley Ng, Amenda La, Lisa Vuong, Mia R. Lim, Sunwoo Yoo


School of Pharmacy, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, PharmD Degree Program

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.