Convocation exercises for the Pharm.D. Class of 2012 at The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy took place on Friday, May 18 at Bass Concert Hall in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) on the university campus. Dr. Kenneth Shine, executive vice chancellor for health affairs for The University of Texas System, presented the commencement address.
Several students were cited for special honors and recognitions during the ceremony.
Jessica Tamborello was recognized as having the highest grade point average in required coursework while Amelia Sofjan received honors for second highest grade point average.
Outstanding research awards were presented to Michelle Horng and Rajesh Peddaiahgari while honors for excellence in patient care went to Emmanuel Enwere, Jr., Kristine Ottosen, and Christine Wicke.
Awards for dedicated service went to Matthew Powell, Jessica Tamborello and Lauren White while Monique Garcia, Eric Ho, Tony Okoro and William Quila were announced for exemplary leadership honors.
The Mortar and Pestle Awards presented for overall leadership, service, patient care and research went to Ning Ning and Samaneh Pourali.
Officers of the Class of 2012 include Eric Ho, president; DeWayne Davidson, vice president; and Jerry James, secretary/treasurer.
Students earning a M.S. or Ph.D. in pharmacy participated in the Graduate College ceremony on May 19. They were honored with a College of Pharmacy reception following the Graduate College program.
All pharmacy graduates were invited to participate in the university-wide commencement ceremony on May 19 on the south terrace of the Main Building.
By Eric Ho, president
Class of 2012
Greetings friends, families, and distinguished guests; salutations honored faculty, instructors, and mentors; and welcome muses, guides, visionaries, allies, protectors, critics, and all of you who have come here to celebrate this exceedingly special day together with us. Our accomplishments and place here this morning are as much the fruit of your labors as they are ours, and on behalf of myself and the Class of 2012 thank you for unwavering support, your endless love, and just plain-old-sticking-up-for-us at every bump and hurdle in the road. Without you the dream of today would have remained just that and we are forever grateful.
A unique feeling emerges around the time of graduation. It defeats definition and confounds description, but for a moment I would like to attempt to do both. The feeling is a strange mix of great accomplishment, greater relief, and the bittersweet inevitability of change. It carries with it memories and hopes collected over 3 years, 8 months and 22 days of laughs, tears, Power Point slides, and the promise of becoming something greater. The feeling reminds us that after we step out into the warm Texas sunlight today, there will be no more classes; no more long hours at rotation sites far from home; naught another lab, assignment, or test (except for two mildly important board exams). But there is an additional quality to this feeling; something new, something frightening. A shadow, neither malicious nor familiar, that creeps in the corners of our minds and haunts the crevasses of our thoughts. What is this specter? What unwelcome guest is this that comes into this happy house?
On our first day together nearly four years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting so many great minds with so much great potential. That is not to say that we graduates are not without our quirks and oddities. A few still dream of being rap stars and folk singers, one wants to own no less than a hundred house cats, I and my fellow videogame addicts are on a lifelong hunt for one very particular pinball machine, and yet others possess a variety of goofy nicknames, fear of birds, and pantries full of exercise supplements.
Over the course of the curriculum, this brilliant and eccentric bunch pushed through so much: the first year we battled through the trenches in PChem, pharmaceutics, and pharmacokinetics while staving off both sleep and the piles of free pizza and soda at organization meetings. The words of our faculty spun around our heads in PT cruisers wearing lab coats and 3D-glasses and a few of us survived that year by swallowing whole ice cream cones and raw steaks while daring others to top them on Facebook.
By the second, we dove head first into the world of pharmacotherapy in an effort to master the secrets and intricacies of hundreds of medications. Dr. Combs taught us both trivia and cardiology while we sweated profusely under our scrubs in IV lab and then sweated more in our business casual during PT lab.
The third year brought a tiny sense of confidence challenged again and again by the details of the law and mathematical magic of economics and biostatistics comforted only by the rapid-fire wisdom of Dean Ginsburg and the bold guffaw of Dr. Knodel. This past year brought us a taste of the joys and tribulations of real practice and finally the assurance that perhaps, just maybe, we had learned something that stuck.
After four years of love found and lost, wisdom gained, and lessons learned, it is clear that the uncertainty of graduation that I spoke of earlier is the weight of the future - reaching the top of a steep hill only to find misty mountains left to conquer. Chasing not only the pinball machine and housecats, but also a patient's life saved, a trail blazed, a new idea born! The college has placed us on the shoulders of giants, and now, wobbling and uncertain, we realize there is a chance to grasp the sun, and for a moment here today to bask in its warmth. And in the light we realize that the shadow is neither unwelcome nor frightening but rather the face of something great seen clearly for the first time.
My plea today is that we never let go of that feeling, that we realize that not only is graduation not the end but, in fact, the very beginning; that we challenge the circumstances of adversity and uncertainty to never let others challenge the reality of our dreams or the validity of our hopes. Endure and succeed.
As Franklin Roosevelt opined a century ago:
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. Instead, the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but he who knows the great devotion, the great motivation, who spends himself in a worthy cause; will, at the best, in the end, know the triumph of high achievement, and at worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be among those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
Friends, Godspeed in all your endeavors. Long live the friendships we've built here. God bless the State and the University of Texas and always, "Hook'em Horns!" Thank you, faculty, friends, and family! Congratulations, Class of 2012!