The College’s 151st Commencement Celebrates the Class of 2019

Published on 16 May 2019

On Saturday, May 11, family, friends, and members of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy community celebrated the class of 2019 at the College’s 151st Commencement. During the ceremony, held at the Stifel Theatre in downtown St. Louis, 419 undergraduate and professional degrees were conferred, marking the largest class of graduates in the College’s history.

The class of 2019 featured graduates from 22 states and 14 countries, and included 253 students receiving a Doctor of Pharmacy, 100 students receiving a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and 66 students receiving a Bachelor of Science in Health Humanities.

During the event, Abigail Gould, 2019 Doctor of Pharmacy class president, and Kyle Bai, Bachelor of Science class president, each spoke on behalf of the graduating classes.

Serving as this year’s Commencement speaker was Peter H. Vlasses, executive director of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). Vlasses served as the executive director of ACPE for 20 years and has been a leader in the pharmacy profession for more than four decades. His many accomplishments during his tenure at ACPE have included overseeing the accreditation of the professional degree program in pharmacy and helping to establish the ACPE International Services Program.

Vlasses is a founding member, fellow and past-president of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, and has been a member of the American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists for many years. He also served on the board of directors of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors and is currently on the clinical advisory council of the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education.

In August 2015, Vlasses served as the speaker for the College’s White Coat Ceremony when the class of 2019 was transitioning into the professional program. His return to the College to deliver the Commencement address marks the first time that a White Coat speaker has returned four years later to serve as the Commencement speaker.

In his address, Vlasses highlighted the many changes that have occurred in pharmacy education since his own graduation from pharmacy school in 1971, including the increase in women participating in U.S. pharmacy programs, innovations in technology and the evolution of the pharmacy curriculum to a model focused on patient-centered care. With the class of 2019 representing the future of the pharmacy profession, Vlasses encouraged graduates to embrace their role as agents for positive change in the years to come.

“As we move forward, pharmacists have a lot to offer,” Vlasses said. “Research shows that pharmacists who get involved in clinical care can make a big difference. They can improve disease and drug therapy management. They can enhance patient satisfaction and improve patients’ quality of life. They can contain drug costs and enhance savings, and the benefits are shown in all of the health care sectors. I encourage graduates to get involved by serving the profession and its organizations, and to be focused on serving patients wherever and however possible because what we do impacts them.”

Kevin J. Colgan, B.S. ’77, MA, R.Ph., FASHP, vice president and chief pharmacy officer at University of Chicago Medical Center and chairman of the of the College’s Board of Trustees, concluded the ceremony by leading the Pharm.D. class and pharmacists in attendance in reciting the “Oath of a Pharmacist,” promising themselves to a lifetime of devotion to serving others through the practice of pharmacy.

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