SOURCE: Western University of Health Sciences

Western University of Health Sciences

August 13, 2012 19:47 ET

WesternU Convocation: Fulfilling the Promise

POMONA, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 13, 2012) - The message of inspiration, commitment and camaraderie rang loud and clear at Western University of Health Sciences' Convocation and white coat ceremonies.

The ceremonies, held Aug. 11, 2012 at Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., ushered nearly 1,200 new students into the start of their health professions careers.

Keynote speaker Diana S. Dooley, Secretary of Health and Human Services for the state of California, told the Convocation audience WesternU's philosophy provides an ideal template for national health care as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) comes into full flower in the coming years.

"I have been deeply inspired by the history of this university, which is steeped in the balance between science and humanity," she said. "There are many challenges in primary care... (and) it takes extraordinary people in these extraordinary times."

Every one of the students is going to become someone's healer, said WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, and are embarking on a way of life that will have a profound impact on their own lives and on the lives of those they will care for.

"So to our entering students, our fervent hope is after you have completed your education and training here at WesternU, you will be ambassadors of the healing arts, and of this university," he said.

WesternU Board of Trustees Secretary John Forbing received an honorary doctorate during the Convocation ceremony. He has served on the board since 1992 and was part of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific's (COMP) original scholarship organization, Compatriots. He is widely respected for his more than 35 years of community involvement in the Pomona and San Gabriel valleys, said WesternU Provost and Chief Operating Officer Gary Gugelchuk, PhD.

Forbing commended incoming students for dedicating their lives to taking care of others. "I welcome each and every one of you to WesternU. Good luck with your studies and good luck with your career."

After Convocation, each of WesternU's nine colleges held a white coat ceremony, where students donned white coats for the first time to signify their entry into the health professions.

Students in the College of Allied Health Professions (CAHP) -- which includes the departments of Health Sciences, Physician Assistant Education and Physical Therapy Education -- heard from speakers in all three of those areas during the college's white coat ceremony.

Dr. Gail Evans-Grayson, Community Field Service Coordinator for the Department of Health Sciences, urged the students to be collaborative and to contribute all they could to their field.

"You can bring something new and exciting to this diverse learning community," she said. "Model the way. Share your knowledge and skills. Don't keep it to yourself."

Francis Jones, DDS, MBA, Director, Division of Continuing Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas - School of Dental Medicine, spoke at the College of Dental Medicine white coat ceremony. He asked the students to take a moment and offer each other congratulations.

"These are your future lifelong colleagues," he said. "We are all bound by a mutual interdependence in this profession. We must accept our limitations as strengths in realizing we all seek the shared knowledge of our faculty and colleagues, each with the same goal -- to be health care providers seeking successful patient treatment, the alleviation of human suffering and, always, compassionate care."

Many WesternU students have already formed bonds with their classmates and college staff and faculty. First-year College of Podiatric Medicine student Manish Bahri said he has already met College of Podiatric Medicine Dean Lawrence Harkless, DPM, and other faculty members.

"They really make you feel like you can approach them," he said. "They're really available. They do great job making sure you know there's a support system."

About Western University of Health Sciences

Western University of Health Sciences (, located in Pomona, Calif. and Lebanon, Ore., is an independent nonprofit health professions university, conferring degrees in biomedical sciences, dental medicine, health sciences, medical sciences, nursing, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, podiatric medicine and veterinary medicine.

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