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KGI Welcomes PharmD Class of 2022 at White Coat Ceremony

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The Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (SPHS) celebrated its new students on Saturday as more than 65 members of the Class of 2022 participated in the annual White Coat Ceremony.

The formal ceremony recognized them as members of the fifth class of KGI’s SPHS and as members of the pharmacy profession. The event, which took place on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center in Pomona, CA, hosted more than 600 attendees, which included family, friends, KGI faculty, and distinguished guests.

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 Class of 2022 into the KGI community and introduced SPHS Founding Dean Kathy Webster.

“Today, you are beginning the first step in the profession and beginning your next journey,” said Webster to the Class of 2022. “This is a white page for you to write on from today forward. You will need to grow both personally, educationally, and professionally. You are joining an even larger family of the pharmacy profession. Welcome.” 

This year’s keynote speaker was Loriann De Martini, chief executive officer of the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists, which is a non-profit professional association established to serve the needs of clinically trained pharmacy professionals across all care and retail settings.

“I encourage you—when faced with your fears: don’t turn your back to it,” said De Martini. “Embrace your fears and walk through it. The measure and value of a person is the value they bring to society. You are going to be a pharmacist and are here to serve.”

Following the keynote address, KGI Board of Trustees Chairman Robert E. Curry made remarks, and KGI Board of Trustees member Yolanda Moses introduced additional speakers, including Steve Casper, Dean and Professor, KGI Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences; Ken Thai, President-Elect, California Pharmacists Association; Paul Huynh, Walgreens representative; Angela Chanda Pootrakul, Rx Relief Representative; and Delphine Wang, student speaker.

“I am 100 percent confident that over the next four years, KGI will provide you with a groundbreaking education that will ensure a very successful career,” said Huynh.

After being formally cloaked with their White Coats, the students recited the Pledge of Professionalism, which emphasizes the adherence to the set of rigid ethical standards demanded by anyone entering the pharmacy profession.