A male student walks across the stage at MCPHS commencement.
University News | 5/9/2024

Class of 2024: Commencement Speakers Invite Graduates to 'Become Your Finest Versions'

By Maaha Rafique

A male student walks across the stage at MCPHS commencement.

More than 1,800 graduates celebrate spring 2024 Commencement, ready to make a difference in healthcare and life sciences worldwide.

During a Commencement address at Leader Bank Pavilion in Boston's Seaport district, alumni speaker Timothy Sobo (MA' 12) encouraged Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) graduates to have confidence in themselves.

"This institution has prepared you all to be leaders in your field. You know more than you think you do. You will be able to help people. You will make a difference," said Sobo, a staff acupuncturist at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the nation's premier hospital systems.

President Richard J. Lessard presided over Thursday's spring Commencement exercises, welcoming graduates, their families, faculty, alumni, and staff to celebrate nearly 1,800 graduates. The ceremony was divided into two sessions, with Sobo speaking in the afternoon.

Students process to MCPHS Commencement 2024.

Students from five schools participated in the morning ceremony, while in the afternoon, graduates of eight other schools crossed the stage. To earn their degrees, they completed a rigorous curriculum in the health and life sciences and supplemented their classes with internships, jobs, and research opportunities in the healthcare field. Some will pursue further education, while others will start or continue careers in hospitals, labs, and other locales worldwide.

Cindy Le (BS' 21), a graduate of the Accelerated Dental Hygiene program and current candidate for a doctorate in dental medicine at the University of New England, addressed the morning session.

“Attending MCPHS, where there are so many students with so many different backgrounds and cultures, was like a fresh breath of air,” Le said. “In my MCPHS journey, I met many people from different cultures and learned more about their practices, beliefs, and traditions.”

She added that healthcare practitioners benefit from interacting with people from diverse backgrounds, reflecting the wide variety of patients they’ll serve.

MCPHS May Commencement 2024

“Remember the different experiences that you shared with all of the students and faculty members at MCPHS,” she said. “Most importantly, remember to show compassion for those who are different from you, and advocate for a more diverse yet accepting future in healthcare.”

Student speaker Osama Abuhasan, graduating with a PharmD, encouraged students to celebrate their differences.

“Whatever ignites your passion, I urge you all to embrace it wholeheartedly and continue nurturing yourselves to become your finest versions,” said Abuhasan, a pharmacy intern at CVS and Treasurer for the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. “Within our diversity lies common threads of lessons and virtues that bind us together, presenting opportunities for mutual growth and support.”

Alicia Tran, graduating with an MBA in Healthcare Management, spoke on behalf of students. She noted that her parents, who immigrated from Vietnam, encouraged her to attend MCPHS and follow in the footsteps of her aunt, a 2004 graduate of the University.

Students at MCPHS Commencement.

“Throughout my time at MCPHS, I met so many inspiring people from all walks of life—some came from across the world, some were first-time parents, and some grew up with English not being their first language. This rich tapestry of diversity has shaped us into the compassionate, resilient individuals we are today. Together, we have forged bonds that will endure a lifetime,” she told students.

Looking out over the crowd of excited graduates, Sobo, the official acupuncturist for the Cleveland Cavaliers, expressed optimism about the future of healthcare.

“This is a truly amazing time to enter healthcare,” he said. “There are cutting-edge treatments and new medications being developed every day. There are ancient traditions undergoing modern scientific testing that have shown their efficacy. The future of healthcare is moving towards centering patients, more integration of care, and being more equitable.”