The Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (SPHS) celebrated its new students on Saturday as the KGI community, family, and friends celebrated the Class of 2023 in the annual White Coat Ceremony.
The formal ceremony recognized them as members of the sixth class of KGI’s SPHS and as members of the pharmacy profession. The event took place on August 24 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 Class of 2023 into the KGI community and introduced SPHS Dean Martin Zdanowicz.
This year’s keynote speaker was Tony Chan, PharmD, the president of the ABC Pharmacy Group, which services several thousand patients annually.
“As a pharmacist, let me share with you that I feel so incredibly privileged and grateful,” Chan said. “I don’t feel like I have worked a day in my life nor do I feel any separation between my work and my life. My work is my life, and my life’s work is our passion and purpose unfolding.
“From this, I would suggest seeking fulfillment more than balance, and continue to seek it every day. I know you be will richly rewarded. People may tell you it can’t be done. It’s simply not true. Dream big – it’s free – and it just might work.”
Following the keynote address, KGI Board of Trustees Chairman Jim Widergren made remarks and introduced additional speakers, including Steve Casper, Dean and Professor, Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences; Lisa Gunther Lum, President-Elect, California Society of Health-System Pharmacists; Clifford Young, President-Elect, California Pharmacist Association; James Simpson, Walgreens representative; Angela Chanda Pootrakul, Rx Relief Representative; and Michael Blanco, student speaker.
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.