News @ VCU School of Pharmacy
Annual Hooding and Diploma Ceremony followed by Senior Awards Banquet
Probably the most poignant moment during the School of Pharmacy’s 2012 Hooding and Diploma Ceremony occurred when Dean Victor Yanchick invited Barry and Martha Van Pelt onstage to receive a posthumous degree in honor and memory of their son, Neil Van Pelt. A crowd of about 1,200 students, family, friends and SOP faculty and staff paid tribute to the Van Pelt family with a standing ovation.
Van Pelt, a member of the class of 2012, died in a car crash at age 24 between his first and second years in the Pharm.D. program. Faculty and administration felt what he had accomplished during his first two years was proof positive that he would have stood among his fellow graduates when that day came.
Later in the ceremony, class president Ashley Savage presented the class gift, a donation to the Neil Van Pelt Memorial Scholarship. Savage was the first recipient of the scholarship, which was awarded earlier this spring.
The Hooding and Diploma Ceremony, which took place May 11 at St. Paul’s Baptist Church, also featured Michael Snow singing the National Anthem; the class president’s reflections by Savage; the senior class address by Brad Martin; the convocation speech by Douglas Hoey, chief operating office for the National Community Pharmacists Association; and administration of the pharmacist’s oath by assistant professor Ben Van Tassell. Class marshals were assistant professors Mary Jayne Kennedy and Lisa Phipps.
Tom Reinders, associate dean for admissions and student services, presented Pharm.D. graduates, and Susanna Wu-Pong, director of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Programs, presented M.S. and Ph.D. graduates. Yanchick made opening and closing remarks.
“You have left an imprint that will last forever,” he said. “You are the class of 2012.”
Pharm.D. graduates were recognized again that evening at the school’s annual Senior Awards Banquet.
More than 500 people attended the reception and banquet at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa at Short Pump. “Once again,” said Yanchick as the banquet began, “we have a remarkable group of students who will be graduating tomorrow [at the VCU Commencement at Richmond Coliseum] and who are eager to enter the health care workforce as pharmacists. Congratulations.”
The Pharmacy Division of the MCV Alumni Association, represented by past president Amy Rudenko (Pharm.D. ’98), welcomed the class of 2012 as new alumni. Rudenko, who is an associate professor at the School of Pharmacy, said being successful is a healthy combination of wishing and doing. “Continue to wish and dream all that you can. May you be successful and love whatever it is you decide to do.”
Reinders recognized members and leaders of student organizations and classes:
• Phi Kappa Phi: Ashley Darden, Drew Kirk, Margaret LoPresti, Kristen O’Brien, Ashley Savage and Erika Stiene
• Rho Chi: Sara Bekri, Ashley Darden, Jung Gwak, Hillary Hudgins, Kevin Jellerson, Hasan Kazmi, Shannon Kennedy, Drew Kirk, Tam Le, Gina Lee, Adam Lefler, Margaret LoPresti, Jessica Mills, Thanh-Van Nguyen, Kristen O’Brien, Lindsay Plant, Ashley Savage, Jessica Schad, Elizabeth Son, Erika Stiene and Sara Tittermary
• Phi Lambda Sigma: Amanda Botteicher, Keko Chanthaphavong, Whitney Conroy, Lauren Cox, Geetika Gandhi, Lindsey Madures, Brad Martin, Swati Mishra, Meghan Potemra, Melissa Rees, Ashley Savage, Jessica Schad, Michael Snow, Erika Stiene, Alex Trang and Gayle Tuckett
• Class presidents: Brad Martin (P1 and P2) and Ashley Savage (P3 and P4)
• Student body 2010-11: Brad Martin (president) and Alex Trang (vice president)
Yanchick presented the faculty/staff awards:
• Preceptor of the Year: Lisa Deal, emergency medicine pharmacist specialist, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital
• Outstanding Employee Recognition Award: Suzie Fairman, assistant to the dean
• Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching: Laura Morgan, associate professor, Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science
Student awards -- presented by Reinders, assisted by Ron Ballentine, assistant director of admissions and student services -- were as follows:
• Patient Care Award: Erika Stiene
• Award of Excellence in Clinical Communication: Lindsey Madures
• Pharmacy Communications Award: Keko Chanthaphavong
• Clinical Research Award: Lauren Cox
• Academic Excellence Award: Kevin Jellerson and Elizabeth Son
• Excellence in Pharmacy Award: Drew Kirk
• Emswiller Award for Leadership Achievement: Michael Snow
• Community Practice Achievement Award: Miranda Johnson
• Outstanding Leadership Award: Melissa Rees
• Technology Excellence Award: Jamie Waller
• Distinguished Service Award: Ashley Savage
• Outstanding Student Award: Gayle Tuckett
• Award of Excellence in Nonprescription Medication Studies: Hillary Hudgins
• VASP Senior Recognition Award: Lindsey Madures
• MCV Alumni Association Award: Alex Trang
• Excellence in Advocacy and Health Policy Award: Tamara Davidson
• Social Justice Award: Geetika Gandhi
• Professionalism Award: Maria Griffin Dean’s Award: Brad Martin
To see photos from the Hooding and Diploma Ceremony, please click here. To see photos from the Senior Awards Banquet, click here.