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KGI Celebrates Class of 2022 During Commencement Ceremonies

On Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Claremont, CA, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) hosted two commencement ceremonies to honor graduates from the class of 2022.

Graduates from programs in the Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences (Riggs School) were honored during a ceremony at 10 a.m., while graduates from programs in the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (SPHS) were honored at 2 p.m.

Jim Widergren, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, began both ceremonies with a welcome address.

“We are thrilled to celebrate our graduates who have successfully completed graduate school during an unprecedented time,” Widergren said. “We expect wonderful things from them as their careers grow and blossom, and we know that they will make KGI proud on their journeys to advance the sciences and healthcare.”

Following the national anthem, sung by student Kevin Zhang, MBS ’22, in the Riggs School ceremony and Carolyn Saba, PharmD ’22, in the SPHS ceremony, Father Joe Fenton of The Claremont Colleges’ Chaplains Office gave the invocation. KGI Student Government President Justin Mathew, MBS ’22, then said a few words regarding the class of 2022 gift.

“Look to your left and look to your right, and look at your LinkedIn with all those KGI connections,” Mathew said. “No matter what changes in life, you will always have this community. To remind ourselves of that, the class gift will be a garden. While we add to the beautification of our home, we realize the beauty of each other.”

Following Mathew’s speech, student speakers took to the stage. Alice Wen, MBS ’22, spoke during the Riggs School ceremony and Rhea Kerawala, MSGDA ’22, spoke during the SPHS ceremony.

“KGI students differ because we are a class of perseverance, a class of inclusiveness, and a class that gives,” reflected Wen.

Kerawala added, “These years at KGI have been equally rigorous and rewarding. We survived. Despite anything we might have faced personally or professionally, we were resilient and persevered.”

After the student speakers, alumni speakers Hutch Humphreys, MBS ‘03 (Riggs School) and Rajan Vaidya, PharmD ‘18 (SPHS) shared their wisdom with the graduates.

“I leave you with six words to remember—“over and next” and “embrace the discomfort,” Humphreys said. “Carry those six words with you, along with your KGI degree, and you are set for a lifetime of success and meaningful contribution.”

“It is ok to be afraid,” said Vaidya. “The moments you’re afraid are why you’re invested in the outcome; you’re afraid because it matters. It’s uncomfortable and not easy, but you’re headed in the right direction.”

Each ceremony had its own keynote speaker that addressed the graduates. For the Riggs School, the keynote was Larry Wood, vice president of transcatheter aortic valve replacement at Edwards Lifesciences

“Surround yourself with talented people and let them shine,” said Wood. “The harder you work, the more opportunities you generate.”

KGI alum Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, PhD, PPM ’14, founder and chief executive officer of 54gene, spoke to SPHS graduates.

“The culture at KGI can be transforming for people who pass through, and hard work is to be worn as a badge of honor,” declared Ene-Obong.” The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

Dr. Martin Zdanowicz, KGI’s Dean of the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Henry E Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences, presented the graduating classes.

In the Riggs School ceremony, graduates were honored from the following programs:

In the SPHS ceremony, graduates were honored from the following programs:

Near the completion of the SPHS ceremony, Dr. Gail Orum, associate dean of academic affairs, led the pharmacy students in the recitation of the Oath of a Pharmacist.

Directed by President Dr. Sheldon Schuster, the graduating students then moved their tassels from their right to the left to signify their transition from students to alumni of KGI.

“Innovation starts here,” said Schuster. “Right now and right here, it is the time to recognize and build your network so that it is available to you throughout your entire career.”

After the closing remarks, the graduates and their guests attended reception ceremonies hosted on campus.

Riggs School Ceremony


SPHS Ceremony