Before the more than 500 graduates of the class of 2009, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia President Dr. Philip P. Gerbino called proudly upon the class to seek opportunity and strive to reach their full potential, even as they face “a world of uncertainty and a challenging economy.”
“Engage in the crucial debates of our time. Acknowledge and embrace the interdependence of a flat world, a global economy, and finite global resources…You must be part of the remedy,” Dr. Gerbino challenged as friends and families of the graduates packed the Mann Center for the Performing Arts at the University’s 188th commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 20, 2009.
In addition to the conferring degrees to graduates of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, the College of Health Sciences, the Misher College of Arts and Sciences, the Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy, and the College of Graduate Studies, the University also bestowed three honorary doctor of science degrees.
Honorary degree recipients, Fred M. Eckel P’61, MS, RPh, executive director for the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists, and Marilyn Moffat, PT, PhD, professor of physical therapy at New York University and president of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy, shared their stories of professional success and imparted experienced wisdom. Britton Chance, PhD, Professor Emeritus at University of Pennsylvania, was granted his degree in absentia
“As a result of your training in this unique environment, you will have leading parts to play in this potentially exciting time in health services delivery,” said Dr. Moffat. “Your roles will require your openness to new ideas, new technology, and new approaches to examination and intervention…Each of you in your own way has the ability to shape your destiny and the destiny of your particular profession.”
Alumnus Eckel challenged the graduates to take a few minutes to ponder the question, “Why am I here?” to begin the process of discovering their life’s purpose and the legacy they will leave behind.
Following the stating of the health professional’s oath and the pharmacist’s oath, this year’s valedictorian Carson Brooke Adams Hum’09, addressed his fellow graduates:
“Of all the healthcare professionals I’ve encountered in my life, I cannot tell you who was the most knowledgeable or the most skillful, but I could tell you who treated me with the most respect and dignity,” he said. “In the oaths sworn to today, the ideas of morality and humanity are of the upmost importance…I ask you to look beyond the lofty wording of these oaths, and to look at the essence of the precepts included. Not just as a new graduate entering your profession, but also as an individual meant to work in unison with the rest of humankind.”
The final award bestowed at the ceremony was the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, which was presented to Laura A. Mandos
, PharmD, associate professor of clinical pharmacy and assistant dean of pharmacy programs.
As Dr. Gerbino gave his final address to the class of 2009, he saluted their convictions, courage, enthusiasm, passion, creativity, and dedication, and charged their generation with “restoring peace, trust, understanding, and compassion to this world.”
“You have every right to be proud. Look around to your classmates. Each of them will touch the lives of so many others. You are honored to be in their presence. Your classmates, now colleagues, individually and in aggregate, will be the leaders for your era and beyond.”
As the recessional tune “Trumpet Voluntary” echoed throughout the arena at the end of commencement, the graduates proceeded up the aisles to begin the next chapter of their lives. In a time of economic and environmental uncertainty, one thing is for certain: University of the Sciences’ class of 2009 is well-prepared for both the challenges and the tremendous opportunities ahead.