New Doctors of Pharmacy Enter the Field

The School of Pharmacy conducts its annual ceremonial hooding of PharmD graduates.

By Alyce Abi Shdid

Byblos campus was abuzz July 19 as excited graduates and their families gathered for the final commencement event of the season: The School of Pharmacy (SOP) hooding ceremony for its Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) graduating class of 2018.

The ceremony, held in the Selina Korban Auditorium on the Byblos campus, was a proud moment for the graduates as they marked the completion of the rigorous six-year PharmD program.

Dr. Anthony Capomacchia, SOP’s assistant dean for student affairs and master of ceremonies for the evening, welcomed esteemed faculty and guests and introduced Dr. Wissam Shahin, assistant provost for special external projects, who addressed the graduates on behalf of Provost George Najjar and President Joseph G. Jabbra.

In his message to the graduates, Shahin noted that in order to make an impact in the world, this generation of graduates must perform at a higher standard than ever before. He urged the graduates to rely on ethical values in order to ensure that the pharmacy profession maintains its reputation.

“The business practice of pharmacy should be governed by ethics. Make sure to make the interests and the health of your patients your first priority. Respect your patients’ privacy, confidentiality, individuality and their choices.”

In his address to the graduates, SOP Dean Dr. Imad Btaiche focused on the changing landscape of the profession, noting that the pharmacist’s role is evolving from filling prescriptions to delving deeper into patient care.

“[The key] is thinking about preventive medicine, personalized medicine, precision medicine – this is the future of pharmacy.”

Btaiche’s message was more than a send-off for the graduates – it was a reminder that they will always remain part of LAU’s SOP family. “You graduate, but you don’t leave LAU.”

Class valedictorian Cynthia Sadaka then took the stage, recalling the rigorous schedule, countless hours of studying, and all the hard work that went into reaching this point. “The best way we graduates can show our gratitude is to make the most out of the opportunity we are given, and go forward into the world with the intention of making it a better place for the generations that follow us,” she told the crowd.

As new graduates Audra Hannun and Nancy Hoyeck played a string version of Bill Withers’ classic song “Lean on Me,” graduates received their hoods – a process that marks a ceremonial “passing of the torch” as they are ushered into the pharmacy profession by their educators.

Indeed, LAU’s PharmD graduates are in a league of their own. That is because LAU’s SOP is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, and the PharmD program is the only one outside the United States accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), thereby assuring the highest-quality pharmacy education.

Awards were presented to graduates who exemplified high achievement in academic excellence, professionalism and student outreach. One of the honors, the Sara Khatib Inspiration Award, is dedicated to the memory of a former LAU pharmacy student who, despite all the challenges she faced in battling cancer, maintained high academic standards, impacting others as a role model of courage, determination and hope.

This year’s recipient, Tatiyana Haddad, earned her degree in the face of her own battle with cancer. After being presented the award by Sara Khatib’s parents, Tatiyana thanked her family for playing such an important role in helping her combat her illness and maintain her academic goals. She shared her three keys to overcoming obstacles: hope, faith, and the support of family and friends.

The ceremony concluded with a short video prepared by students that captured their memories from their experience at the SOP.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, graduates and their families celebrated at a reception on campus.