Under bright, sunny skies, aspiring pharmacists, scientists, and healthcare practitioners from University of the Sciences’ class of 2011 completed the latest phase of their educational journey. Over 500 graduates made the symbolic gesture of moving their tassel from right to left, representing the distinction of earing their bachelor, master, or doctoral degree.
The ceremony on May 12, 2011, at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts was packed with families and friends who witnessed each graduate walk across the stage. In addition, the University bestowed two honorary doctor of science degrees.
The first to Mary Louise Tigue Andersen P’52 who 60 years ago graduated from what was then Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science. As someone who has devoted her career to securing access to health services to all, she imparted her own life lesson: listen and care.
Professor Freeman J. Dyson, a renowned physicist who received the second honorary degree, never got to attend his own graduation due to World War II. But he considered himself lucky to be part of four revolutions in space, nuclear energy, the genome, and computing. He almost seemed jealous that today’s graduates would continue those unfinished revolutions.
“My advice to you is, take chances and do not be afraid of failure,” Dyson said.
Valedictorian Joseph Plaksin Psy’11 was otherworldly in his advice to graduates. “Do or do not. There is no try,” as the 3.991 GPA toting grad quoted Yoda from the Star Wars movies.
Whether these grads ultimately do or do not, over 60 percent of 400 respondents indicated they had a job lined up or were going to grad school on the day of graduation. Another 20 percent indicated that they were interviewing. Historically, within three months of graduation the number of grads employed or going for further education climbs to 90-plus percent.
In his final commencement address, University President Dr. Philip P. Gerbino implored the graduates to have courage, conviction, and passion.
“There is no greater satisfaction than leaving the world a better place. It is a covenant and is the penultimate core of American values,” said Dr. Gerbino, who recently announced his retirement after 16-plus years at the helm of the institution.
The 2011 commencement ceremony was the 190th in University of the Sciences’ rich history. Congratulations to the graduates of the class of 2011.