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KGI Celebrates Doctor of Pharmacy Classes of 2024 and 2025 at White Coat Ceremony

The Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (SPHS) celebrated its Doctor of Pharmacy students on Saturday, August 21, 2021, as the KGI community, family, and friends celebrated the Classes of 2024 and 2025 in the annual White Coat Ceremony.

The formal ceremony recognized the students as members of the seventh and eighth classes of KGI’s SPHS and as members of the pharmacy profession. The event took place at the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center in Pomona, CA.

Symbolizing dedication to clinical service and patient care, the ceremony includes each student receiving a white coat to signify the beginning of the student’s career. For students whose parents are pharmacists, the white coat was given by that respective parent.

KGI President Sheldon Schuster opened the ceremony by introducing Father Joe Fenton from The Claremont Colleges Office of the Chaplains. Following the invocation and singing of the National Anthem, President Schuster also welcomed the Classes of 2024 and 2025 into the KGI community and introduced Martin Zdanowicz, Dean of the SPHS and Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences.

This year’s keynote speaker was Virginia Chan, PharmD, President of Covina Pharmacy and ABC Pharmacy–Redlands, which services several thousand patients annually.

“To the KGI PharmD classes of 2024 and 2025: always be giving and helpful,” said Chan. “Pave your own path toward success, remember where you’ve come from, and who has helped you along the way.”

Following the keynote address, KGI Board of Trustees Chairman Jim Widergren made remarks and introduced additional speakers, including Richard H. Dang, President-Elect, California Pharmacist Association; Jim Scott, President-Elect, California Society of Health-System Pharmacists; Paul Huynh, Walgreens representative; Angela Chanda Pootrakul, Rx Relief Representative; and Joseph De Los Reyes, student speaker.

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Gail Orum and Dean of Students Cynthia Martinez led the presentation of the white coats. After being formally cloaked with their coats, Professor of Clinical Sciences Talia Puzantian led the student recitation of the Pledge of Professionalism, which emphasizes the adherence to the set of rigid ethical standards demanded by anyone entering the pharmacy profession.

President Schuster concluded the ceremony with these words to the PharmD classes of 2024 and 2025: “We wish for you to be successful, and to be a part of your learning. You are not only part of a profession, but you are part of a caring family that is KGI.”