Touro College of Pharmacy Honors Class of 2016 at Commencement Banquet

Students and Faculty Receive Awards at Annual Ceremony

June 06, 2016

“This evening, we validate and recognize our brightest and our best students--who excel as members of societies and communities locally, regionally, and nationally--for their exemplary work,” began Dean of the Touro College of Pharmacy (TCOP), Dr. Henry Cohen, in his welcoming remarks at the commencement banquet held on Tuesday, May 24, 2016.

The annual event drew families, Touro faculty and deans, and distinguished guests to the Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem on the eve of graduation to honor the class of 2016 as well as outstanding students and faculty.

Awards were presented by professors, faculty advisors, deans, administrators, and public health representatives including CVS Regional Support Pharmacist Dr. Megha Patel; the American Heart Association Director of Health Equity and Multicultural Initiatives Ms. Leslie Eaddy; and Commander Jerry Zee from the United States Public Health Service.

Assistant Dean of Clinical Affairs Dr. Ronnie Moore highlighted that “it is the faculty who lead students to the success you see tonight,” before announcing the Faculty Preceptor of the Year Award to Dr. Keith Veltri. Dean Cohen presented the Faculty Research Award to Dr. Joyce Addo-Atuah, Faculty Service Award to Dr. Charnicia Huggins, and Professor of the Year Award to Dr. Rebecca Salbu. 

The ceremony included an alumni greeting delivered by External Preceptor of the Year awardee Dr. Priya Somnarain, ‘12; class superlatives (such as most likely to volunteer for double shift, travel the world, develop new drug, and more) led by the student members of the Commencement Steering Committee---PharmD candidates Olawonuola Abiona, Basirat Adeyemi, Philip Armendi, Krystal Farquharson, Katherine Joseph, Sharii Kidd, Christopher Mendoza, Ida Ong, and Ezinne Onukogu; and closing remarks by Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Michael Escott, who wished a “hearty congratulations to our soon-to-be-doctors!”

“This class is a microcosm of the world--and we are fortunate to have that diversity,” said Dean Escott of the 2016 graduates. “We are confident that we are sending out outstanding pharmacists.”

Basirat Adeyemi is looking forward to serving as a Merck Fellow for Global Regulatory Affairs next year. She celebrated commencement with three generations of women in her family, including her grandmother, whom she had not seen for 10 years. “It feels unreal,” she said, “and amazing.”

Dr. Priya Somnarain hopes that students will stay connected to TCOP after graduation through alumni programming. “The transition from being student pharmacists to pharmacists is the beginning of a new journey,” she said, “and we want to continue to provide support for that.”

The festive celebration featured a gourmet dinner and musical entertainment by CrossFire Steel Orchestra, of which second-year student Arielle Chase is a member.