The big day finally arrived for the Class of 2012 on May 11: the president of the university said those long-awaited words of "By the power vested in me by the Arizona Board of Regents, I hereby confer...."
Six new PhDs in pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacology and toxicology heard the official declaration first, standing as a group following individual hooding by their faculty advisers.
And then, after each of the 95 PharmD graduates had had a brief moment in the stage spotlight, receiving the official academic hood while Associate Dean John Murphy read their final thank you statements, UA President Eugene Sander addressed the coveted words to the jubilant class.
Following the group's recitation of the Oath of the Pharmacist, Joel Nielsen, president of the class, reminded members of the changes in society, the economy, pop culture and health care that have occurred in just the four years of their academic journey. He thanked fhe "phenomenal professors and staff" of the college for their commitment to students' success and praised his classmates for their dedication to "making the world a better place." Giving examples of lessons learned from a tragedy caused by medication error and from his own experiences on clinical rotation, Nielsen urged the new graduates to be instrumental in the direction of the evolution of pharmacy as health care changes.
Complementing Nielsen's words were the congratulations and advice offered earlier in the Convocation ceremony by J. Lyle Bootman, dean of the college and senior vice president for health sciences; President Sander and Charles Burnett, 1959 COP alumnus and this year's recipient of the highest honor presented by the UA Alumni Association, the Alumni Achievement Award. Burnett, (shown right) the founder and head of Costco's pharmacy division, told class members that they were entering a noble profession and to "go forward with your eyes wide open and head held high."
From the smiles, grins, cheers and embraces that took place as the new alumni exited Centennial Hall and began the post-Convocation celebration across the street, it seems clear the Class of 2012 graduates begin their careers taking his words to heart.
Enjoy moments from Convocation 2012 through the photos below. More than 200 images from the event are posted on the college's Flickr page and a smaller album is available through our Facebook page. A video of the entire two-hour ceremony may be viewed on the Arizona Health Sciences website.