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KGI Celebrates 16th Annual Commencement Ceremony with Biocon Founder

Commencement Weekend Photo Galleries

On the morning of Saturday, May 13, the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) community capped off a memorable 2016-2017 academic year with the 16th Annual Commencement ceremony featuring 175 graduates.

While the classic “Pomp and Circumstance” played overhead, the students proudly entered the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center and waved excitedly to family and friends as they began their participation in KGI’s commencement celebration.

In addition to students and their guests, also in attendance were trustees, alumni, faculty, and staff of KGI to assist the event ceremonially and to show support.

KGI Chairman of the Board of Trustees Bob Curry began the ceremony with a welcoming address announcing the event as “the biggest single gathering that we have ever had for KGI.”

Graduating Master of Business and Science (MBS) student Peter Greaney sang the national anthem beautifully and student speaker Carl Decker, also a graduating MBS student, delivered a speech to the Class of 2017 students.

Graduating MBS student Aditi Shastry presented the class gift to KGI President Sheldon Schuster, faculty, staff, and future students of KGI.

“Our class gift to KGI is a canvas print that illustrates the various stages of mitosis, representing a metaphor for the growth and transformation that KGI has experienced,” said Shastry. Schuster thanked the Class of 2017 for their gift, which will be a lasting reminder of their special class.

Schuster then welcomed keynote speaker, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, founder and chairperson of Biocon, India’s largest biopharmaceutical enterprise, to the podium. Mazumdar-Shaw, named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, is recognized as a thought leader who has built a globally recognized biopharmaceutical enterprise that is committed to innovation and affordability in delivering best-in-class therapeutics to patients across the globe.

Mazumdar-Shaw spoke to KGI’s graduating class about the effects of rapidly changing technology on the bioscience industry and about her own experiences in entrepreneurship. The advice she gave students was learned on her own personal journey.

“The only control you have of your destiny is your sense of purpose and your spirit of challenge,” said Mazumdar-Shaw.

In addition, Mazumdar-Shaw made a plea to the students: “I want you to use the knowledge that you have acquired at this great institution to develop disruptive technologies and innovative healthcare models that will address the unmet medical needs of our planet!”

Dean of the School of Applied Life Sciences Steve Casper then presented the graduating classes: “With great pleasure I present the candidates who have successfully completed the requirements for the degree.”

Degrees were awarded for completion of the following programs: Certificate in Bioscience Industry Law and Practice, Certificate in Bioscience Management, Postdoctoral Professional Masters, Master of Engineering, Master of Science, Master of Business and Science, and PhD in Applied Life Sciences.

Alumnus Sandeep Inamdar, MBS ‘03, congratulated the Class of 2017 and welcomed the group as alumni of KGI. After graduating from KGI, Inamdar worked for Amgen for eight years and now serves as the senior medical director at Five Prime Therapeutics in San Francisco.

Directed by Schuster, students moved their tassels from right to left to signify their transition from students to alumni of KGI.

“As you take a giant step into the next stage of your careers, you will face issues both personal and professional you have not yet envisioned,” Schuster said. “But, I have every confidence you have the tools and skills to continue to learn throughout your lives and careers and to grow into the ethical and successful leaders we have prepared you to be!”

After Schuster’s closing remarks, the KGI Class of 2017 proudly exited the venue in a recessional to a chorus of cheers from the adoring family, friends, and colleagues in attendance.

The commencement ceremony marked the end of an action-packed week for KGI. On Thursday, the campus community broke ground on its first-ever housing development. Friday featured the PPC Reception Ceremony and the Awards Luncheon.

During Friday’s Awards Luncheon, the Business Plan Competition and Team Master’s Project (TMP) awards were distributed. Two teams earned a TMP Collaborative Excellence Award with Emily Shen, Brian Song, Samya El Kettani, Aditi Shastry, Ivan Pulido, Caroline Wu, Jonathan Le, and Yufei Song receiving honors. Brian Song, Evelyn Tran, Heather Leu, and Brent Chamberlain were introduced as the winners of the Business Plan Competition.