Touro College of Pharmacy Celebrates New Graduates at 13th Annual Commencement

University President Applauds Class of 2024 Amid Unprecedented Challenges

May 29, 2024
graduates smiling at camera wearing caps and gowns
Touro College of Pharmacy Class of 2024

Touro College of Pharmacy (TCOP) graduated a new class of PharmDs on Wednesday at its 13th annual commencement. Ceremonies were held at The Town Hall, a New York City landmark built in the early 1900s down the block from Touro University’s new Cross River campus on West 43rd Street in the heart of the Times Square.

“Touro College of Pharmacy has many reasons to be extraordinarily proud,” said Touro University President Dr. Alan Kadish in his opening address to the Class of 2024 and their families and friends gathered in the auditorium.

Accomplishments and Challenges

The President shared that the school ranks first among pharmacy schools in New York City and second in the state for students’ high first-time pass rates on the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX). He noted that employment of graduates has approached nearly 100 percent and lauded the school for enhancing the diversity of its student body and for providing service to the community through its healthcare outreach with flu vaccines and COVID testing and vaccinations.

Dr. Kadish noted the graduates have been through many challenges and expressed pride in how they have risen to the task and excelled.

“Collectively you’ve been through the toughest four years that I’ve ever experienced in higher education,” said Dr. Kadish, citing three challenges: dealing with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the increased use of technology and artificial intelligence in healthcare, and the recent upheaval on college and university campuses.

Revolution in Pharmacy and Healthcare

In his welcoming remarks, Dean Dr. Henry Cohen congratulated the Class of 2024 and marveled at new opportunities the graduates will encounter, citing development of new drugs and vaccines, artificial intelligence, and research to treat diseases.

Specifically, he noted pharmacists’ expanded abilities to order lab tests, do physical assessments, partner with physicians in hospital settings and work in public health, research, management, marketing and industry.

“Pharmacists are at the core of this revolution, and they are integral members of the healthcare team,” said Dean Cohen, “Your degrees are a distinction you have earned and can be proud wherever your careers take you.”

Keynote Speaker Dr. Lawrence Cohen, distinguished professor, University of North Texas System College of Pharmacy and emeritus professor, Washington State University College of Pharmacy, told the graduates that advances in science, pharmacy practice and innovation have created an exciting time for them, filled with opportunity.

He encouraged the class to reach out and build professional networks with one another, with preceptors, and other health science colleagues. He endorsed interprofessional collaboration, volunteering and mentoring.

“You are the future of pharmacy as a profession, and your faculty have prepared you well. But be a lifelong learner. Your journey is just beginning!” Dr. Cohen said.

Residencies and Fellowships

The Class of 2024 heard from two of their classmates: Mahwish Qureshi, recipient of numerous awards including for academic excellence, pharmacy practice, leadership, and public health; and Dorina Birce, the first student to graduate from a new collaborative degree with New York Medical College that offers both a PharmD and Master of Public Health.

“Moving forward, we won’t be known as just pharmacists. We will be known as sincere healthcare professionals that go above and beyond for our patients,” said Qureshi. “We will be known as the providers the medical team cannot live without. And most importantly, we will be known as those who offer appropriate care to our patients to ensure they can achieve the best possible health outcomes.”

Close to a quarter of the class will be going on to PGY1 residencies and fellowships, including at NYU Langone Hospital-Long Island, Genentech/Roche and Pfizer.

James Lundgren, also a recipient of numerous awards, will be a PGY1 resident at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University.

“It has been an unbelievable journey at Touro. I truly am honored to have studied under such amazing professors and alongside some of the most amazing men and women I have ever met,” said Lundgren.