In New White Coats, the Class of 2019 Begin Their Journey

The white tent was raised, the seats in place, the music began and the Class of 2019, 189 strong, marched into the Annual School of Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony on the Health Sciences Campus Quad on August 20 to begin their journey to become Doctors of Pharmacy.

pharmacy students celebrate the beginning of their degreeThe new students, along with family and friends, were welcomed by Interim Dean Glen L. Stimmel who told them they really are entering the profession of pharmacy at a most exciting time.

“Today, pharmacists are recognized in law as providers,” he said, noting that this class will be the first to experience major changes in the School curriculum ensuring that USC graduates are optimally prepared for new challenges that the profession will assume as healthcare evolves.

School of Pharmacy White Coat ceremony at USC in Los Angeles, CA. August 20, 2015. Photo by David Sprague
Dr. Michelle Lee Chu “coats” Stephen Ea.  Photo by David Sprague
Keynote speaker for the ceremony was Steven Chen, PharmD, chair of the Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy, who assured the new students that USC has a top-ten football team, the pharmacy market isn’t saturated but actually growing for professionals who can improve health while keeping costs down and your salary as a pharmacist should be just fine as long as pharmacists show that their services are covered by the cost savings that they produce.

Precious Perez Cagungun and Marina Albert Boulos during the Annual White Coat Ceremony.
“Healthcare reform in this country is moving slowly but steadily towards a value-based system,” said Chen. “Whether you have an interest in acute care, community, psychiatry, geriatrics, managed care, long-term care, ambulatory care – at USC, we have either a leading practice that our faculty are involved in or we have a direct contact with an alum who is a regional or national expert. The networking here is amazing.”

Associate Dean Fred Weissman called each student to the stage to be officially coated by a member of the faculty, the Alumni Association or QSAD which is a School support group.

Administering the “Oath of a Pharmacist” was Assistant Dean Kathleen Hill Besinque.

School of Pharmacy White Coat ceremony at USC in Los Angeles, CA. August 20, 2015. Photo by David Sprague
Steven De Las Casas take the Oath of the Pharmacist, which was administered by Assistant Dean Kathleen Hill Besinque. Photo by David Sprague
The Class of 2019 was chosen from a competitive pool of 829 applicants. Average undergraduate grade point average for the students is 3.5. Most of the students are graduates of California universities with the University of California sending the most students to the four-year program.

The event concluded with a reception for all on the upper quad. Classes start on Monday, August 24.