270 students graduated from the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Doctor of Pharmacy and Masters of Biomedical Sciences programs.
Commencement ceremonies for PCOM Georgia’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Doctor of Pharmacy and Masters of Biomedical Sciences graduates were held on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth.
Family members and friends gathered to watch as the 270 students received their diplomas and hoods and flipped their tassels from right to left. Trupti Patel, DO, a graduate of the inaugural class of 2009, addressed the DO graduates at the morning ceremony, while William Douglas Figg Sr., PharmD, MBA, addressed the PharmD and Biomedical Sciences students at the afternoon ceremony.
Dr. Patel encouraged the graduates at the 11th annual DO commencement ceremony. “My hope for you is that you focus on being the best at what you do… You’ll be expected to be tough and focused and accurate during hard, devastating cases,” she said. “And you‘ll be expected to be soft, kind and human when delivering bad news.
A board-certified emergency medicine specialist, Dr. Patel advised the students who will become interns and residents in July.
“There will be a lot of firsts for you. It will be hard, but you will figure it out and it will get better. Read, study, pay attention to smart people. Learn everything you can from those you admire. Create your own reputation of being good, smart and kind.”
“Shine for your family. Shine for all of the people here with you today celebrating you and all of your hard work,” she said, before showing a clip of Snoop Dogg accepting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And like Snoop Dogg, she encouraged the students to thank themselves for giving everything they have and never quitting.
Dr. Figg, a senior investigator for the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, addressed the Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences graduates.
“Think of the opportunities you have to impact the lives of the patients you treat, to alter the standard of care through thoughtful and well-designed studies and improve the way medical care is provided.”
He advised the graduates to “set goals, but don’t close the door on opportunities that come your way… Be someone who always says yes – the more opportunities that you seek out and go for, the more doors will open.”
Dr. Figg provided graduates with his top ten list for success with the most important being “Don’t alter your moral compass. Choose the hard right over the easy wrong and the courage to do what is right.” He said, “Pharmacists commonly face situations that call for moral courage.”
Both Patel and Figg began their speeches by lowering the graduates’ expectations. Alluding to the Morehouse College commencement speaker who announced he was paying off the loans of the Morehouse Class of 2019, Patel reminded students that she was still paying off her medical school loans and was accepting donations. Laughing, Figg said, “Unfortunately, I’m on a government salary!”
PCOM President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Feldstein, DO '81, addressed the graduates. He said, “Commencement day, by nature, is a crossing of an intangible threshold. It is the future touching the present.” He advised the new alumni to “honor the humanity of those who suffer. Feel awe. Be humbled. The prospect of healing rests in your sense of compassion.”
Suwanee Mayor James “Jimmy” Burnette, Jr., brought greetings from the city, the county and the citizens of Georgia – “from a grateful community.” He thanked the graduates for their volunteer efforts during their time at the Suwanee campus.
“I want to recognize your continuing commitment of service to your fellow man,” he said, noting their efforts to support mentoring programs for high school students, supply food pantries, volunteer at drug take-back days and many more activities.
During the invocation, Chief Campus Officer Bryan Ginn asked that the graduates have “courage tempered with humility, great strength accompanied by innate tenderness, judgment to know when to seek assistance and counsel from colleagues, friends and family,” along with “perseverance, a prescription for taking care of themselves and a passion for life-long learning.
Chief Academic Officer and Dean of Pharmacy Shawn Spencer, PhD, RPh, summoned the class of 2019 to “service for the common good; to lead in an uncertain environment, to further biomedical knowledge, prevent disease, to cure when possible, and most of all to comfort those who are ill and infirmed.”
Chief Academic Officer and Vice Provost H. William Craver III, DO, said “You are well prepared and ready for the next step in your lifelong journey. There will be challenges… We are confident you will meet them.”
First year pharmacy student Ruth Pierre (PharmD ’22) opened and closed the ceremonies singing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and ‘America the Beautiful’ as the graduates and family members joined in.
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, the doctor of pharmacy degree, the doctor of physical therapy degree, as well as graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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