Commencement Spotlight: Jack Saville

Equipped with unique perspectives through USC Naval ROTC and the USC Mann pharmacology and drug development program, the 2023 Trojan will soon start a new role with the U.S. Navy.

Since kindergarten, Jack Saville has dreamed of being in the U.S. Navy. He joined the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program three weeks after arriving at USC. And on May 12, he will graduate with a degree in pharmacology and drug development from USC Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 

Saville said he always had the urge to serve the country. He grew up in Manhasset, N.Y., in a family where many others have also joined the military. Saville’s great-uncle served in a tank battalion during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. 

At USC, Saville and his fellow cadets meet three to four times a week for training while “integrating themselves into the military lifestyle.” The ROTC lifestyle is atypical for Trojans: waking up as early as 5 a.m., completing intensive physical and leadership training, and wearing the uniform around campus. “It definitely makes you stick out in a crowd,” Saville said. “It’s a reminder of the commitment that you have made to serve our country.”

Through the Naval ROTC program, Saville received a three-year scholarship that paid for his education at USC. He signed on for a five-year commitment to the U.S. Navy after graduation.

Saville and his peers standing in front of a Navy helicopter on July 19, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Jack Saville)

“Being a part of the Naval ROTC Battalion at USC has been a gratifying experience,” Saville said, noting that the program provided him with naval knowledge, leadership skills, and friendships for life. Saville added that he uses the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment when evaluating problems or trying to make ethical decisions. And by doing so, he has the ability to look at issues from different perspectives, setting him apart from peers in other classes. 

When he first came to USC in January 2020, Saville was lost and overwhelmed just like other first-year students. He said that once he found his place at USC Mann and in the ROTC program, “everything fell into place.”

Saville originally came to USC as a biochemistry major. Later, his curiosity and passion for science took him to the world of pharmacology and drug development—fields he instantly fell in love with after taking the History and Geography of Drugs class with Terry David Church, assistant professor of regulatory and quality sciences.

“One of the best feelings in the world is walking into class, and not only being close with classmates but also with your professor. That was an important part of my life here at USC.”

Jack Saville

“One of the best feelings in the world is walking into class, and not only being close with classmates but also with your professor,” Saville said. “That was an important part of my life here at USC, and it played a huge role in my happiness as a student at USC Mann.”

His coursework included a few unforgettable classes, including “Ethics, Drugs and Society” and “Mysterious Deaths: From Poisons in Literature and History to Forensic Toxicology.” Another memorable learning experience was a May 2022 Maymester trip to the Balkans to study folk medicines, an educational experience that brought him and his classmates even closer. “Being able to learn about pharmacy and pharmacology from a different perspective was extremely eye-opening,” Saville noted. 

Saville and USC Mann classmates, faculty and staff during the “Maymester” trip in Romania on May 28, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Jack Saville)

Saville contributes to the close-knit culture. “He has a big heart, though he pretends otherwise, and cares deeply for his family, friends and classmates. He looks out for those around him,” said Church, faculty leader of the 2022 Maymester trip. “His smile is goofy and genuine; it is endearing and can lighten tense moments or brighten the gloomiest situations.”

After graduation, Saville will travel to Norfolk, Va., to complete required training and then head to San Diego, Calif., to serve as a surface warfare officer aboard the USS Pearl Harbor.

He said he eventually hopes to earn a law degree and combine his pharmacy knowledge with legal skills. Saville is interested in becoming an attorney in a pharmacy-related field and believes the knowledge and skills he learned at USC Mann will serve as a solid foundation for his future endeavors.

“Being a freshman at a new school can be extremely daunting, but if you put yourself out there and get involved as much as you can, you will find your place here,” Saville said. “The USC Mann staff and professors are some of the nicest human beings in the world, and will help you discover what you want to do in your career and will also help you develop as a student.”