UF College of Pharmacy celebrates nearly 400 graduates in the class of 2017

A weekend of celebration was highlighted by nearly 400 University of Florida College of Pharmacy students graduating as members of the class of 2017 and a pledge by alumnus Robert Crisafi, Ph.D., ʼ56, to give $1 million to support student scholarships.

UF College of Pharmacy hosted its professional degree, or Pharm.D., ceremony on Monday, May 1, at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The event featured 289 students from the college’s four campuses in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando and St. Petersburg, along with 24 students from the Working Professional Pharm.D. Program, receiving their Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Commencement speaker William Evans, Pharm.D., an endowed chair of pharmacogenomics at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a professor at the University of Tennessee Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine, welcomed graduates into a new phase of their life as professional pharmacists.

“Your challenge is to continue to learn and stay at the forefront of pharmacy,” Evans said. “Do something special to advance health care and do something to help the community where you live.”

Bob Crisafi, Ph.D., ’56, announced a $1 million gift to the college to support student scholarships.

During the ceremony, UF College of Pharmacy Dean Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., presented Crisafi with the UF Distinguished Alumnus Award, one of the most prestigious honors UF can bestow on its alumni. Crisafi has been an advocate for improving patient safety in the nation’s hospitals throughout his career. He has made major contributions to the reduction of medication error rates in hospitals with the introduction of a new dosage form for liquid pharmaceuticals, and he developed the idea of printing bar codes directly on the packaging of unit-dosed drugs.

Crisafi and his wife, Barbara, have been generous supporters of the College of Pharmacy. Their ever-present passion for assisting students who want to attend the University of Florida has fueled their desire to establish and support the College of Pharmacy’s successful scholarship fundraiser known as the Crisafi Challenge. Upon receipt of the award, Crisafi announced a $1 million gift to the college to continue the Crisafi Challenge in perpetuity and ensure deserving pharmacy students receive Crisafi scholarships to attend the UF College of Pharmacy.

The ceremony concluded with remarks from four senior class members representing each College of Pharmacy campus. Nam Quoc Nguyen, a graduate from the St. Petersburg campus, left his classmates with this message.

“UF has done a wonderful job preparing us for life outside of pharmacy school,” Nguyen said. “Keep the same passion and fire that we had when we entered pharmacy school and surround yourself with kind and generous leaders.”

Commencement ceremonies recognizing UF College of Pharmacy graduates began on Friday, April 28, with nine students receiving their doctoral degrees (Ph.D.) during UF’s Doctoral Degree Ceremony. Later that evening, in the same location, 77 online and residential master’s degree students were conferred their Master of Science in Pharmacy degrees during a campus-wide ceremony.

Festivities continued on Sunday, April 30, with the college’s inaugural Senior Awards BBQ. More than 275 Pharm.D. students, their family and friends, and faculty and staff attended the afternoon celebration held in the HPNP Courtyard in Gainesville. Johnson and Shauna Buring, Pharm.D., an associate dean for student affairs, presented more than 20 student awards and the college’s preceptor of the year award winners were also honored.

To view photos of the College of Pharmacy Commencement, please visit: https://ufcollegeofpharmacy.smugmug.com/Commencement-2017

To view photos of the Senior Awards BBQ, please visit: https://ufcollegeofpharmacy.smugmug.com/Senior-Awards-BBQ