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Graduate standing between his parents.

New PharmD grad Simranpreet Dhaliwal with his proud parents.

Welcome to the profession:

PharmD grads embark on new journey

May 22, 2024 — 

“It means everything to me.”

That’s how Simranpreet Dhaliwal described receiving the Passion and Commitment Award at the College of Pharmacy’s Welcome to the Profession Ceremony.

He credits his parents’ support and their life-lessons not only for this achievement, but for helping him build the strong foundation he will need to succeed as a health-care professional.

“You need to be passionate; you need to be kind, you need to be dedicated,” he said. “That’s what they taught me and that’s what I’ll use in my career as a pharmacist.”

Along with Dhaliwal’s proud parents, family, friends, faculty and staff celebrated the 40 students launching their professional careers as pharmacists at a ceremony held May 16 preceding UM spring convocation.

The newly minted pharmacists were formally cloaked in their white coats and recited the Oath of a Pharmacist.

“In my many encounters with your class, I was inspired,” said Dr. Jamison Falk, associate professor at the College of Pharmacy, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, in his address to the new pharmacy graduates. “These qualities that you possess: intellectual understanding, compassion and the confidence to challenge the status quo, can only make our profession, and ultimately the care we provide, better.”

Due to COVID-19, the graduating class was required to face uncertainty and ever-changing protocols as they began their studies in 2020.

“It was certainly a unique situation because we started in the pandemic,” said new grad Mark Livingston. “We are a front-line accessible type of profession that really works best in-person. I think it really speaks to our professionalism that we were able to keep going and keep progressing throughout.”

For pharmacy gold-medalist Randi Frost-Hunt, the four-year program was full of memorable moments, from the friends she made to the demanding (but satisfying!) coursework.

 “In my last rotation I was able to do an elective in renal transplant,” she said. “I was able to follow patients from the moment they had a kidney transplant and see the course of their progression. I could directly see the impact. That was really special.”

Now that she is entering the workforce, Frost-Hunt is looking forward to a career in community pharmacy, where she will continue to work closely with patients and primary care providers. “For me the best part is that you get to form relationships,” she said. “You get to know the patients and all aspects of their care – I think that makes a really big difference.”

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