More students complete LAU’s prestigious graduate pharmacy program
With ample opportunities open to them, Pharm.D. graduates are reminded of their role as agents of change in the service of healthcare and their community.
Thirty women and men this year completed the course and experiential education requirements to earn a Pharm.D. degree from LAU. They celebrated their achievement in the presence of family and friends at a hooding ceremony held at the Byblos campus on July 12.
Students in cap and gown walked into the Selina Korban Auditorium holding their hoods in their hands, followed by 16 faculty members of the School of Pharmacy, of which Imad Btaiche has been dean since 2015. “You have available a multitude of opportunities, because you have worked hard and because the community appreciates your skills,” said the dean to the graduates before they took to the stage. “You are well positioned to contribute to both healthcare and the community,” he added, reminding his former students to focus first and foremost on their patients, and to work as part of collaborative interdisciplinary teams.
Also emphasizing the opportunities that awaited the graduates was LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra. “You are graduating into an interconnected world full of potential for the dreamer to grasp and the doer to achieve,” he said, urging the young pharmacists to be agents of change in a world where healthcare systems were weak and failing. “Be advocates for your community and patients. You have the skills and knowledge, but must also cultivate the human dimension.”
Those in the audience included the Lebanese Armed Forces Commander Joseph Aoun, whose daughter Nour was among the graduates, and Joseph Sabella, finance and administration director at Lebanon’s largest distributor of pharmaceutical products Mersaco, whose daughter Lara was also graduating.
“We chose to send our daughter to LAU because of its reputation and accreditation,” said another parent, the mother of graduate Kim Sadi. “This degree is recognized in North America, and that opens up a wealth of opportunities for her.”
Like Sadi, and most of the graduating class, Mazen Samadi had completed the pharmacy program at LAU. “It’s a completely different feeling though,” said the student who, a year ago, had also worn cap and gown to celebrate earning a B.S. in Pharmacy. “This, you know, is for the rest of your life.”
While some of the graduates have already found work, others have chosen to take their time and explore their options. “I’ve applied to retail pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies,” explains Hiba Kadado, who is inclined to start her career in the U.S.
About 95 percent of graduates of the School of Pharmacy are either pursuing further studies or gainfully employed within a year of graduation, said Btaiche proudly to the graduates and their parents. “One multinational pharmaceutical company told me that 80 percent of their pharmacists in Lebanon and the region are LAU graduates. This is a sign of the great trust people have in our program and graduates.”
Echoing the dean’s sentiment was valedictorian Myriam Bechwait who, during her address, thanked the faculty for their invaluable contribution. “You taught us more than I would have ever thought possible. You have elevated pharmacy practice in Lebanon in a way that gives the U.S. a run for its money. You have been our mentors, role models, advisors and friends.”