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A graduate stands with family members after commencement.

NEOMED Celebrates New Graduates at May 7 Commencement

After two years of virtual events, due to COVID-19, NEOMED proudly held its 2022 Commencement in person Saturday, May 7, celebrating its newest group of transformational leaders.

Family members and friends gathered at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall on the University of Akron campus to cheer on the 264 graduates—four of whom had earned dual degrees.

The College of Medicine awarded 143 degrees, including one to the first graduate of its Accelerated Family Medicine Track. The College of Pharmacy conferred 88 degrees, while the College of Graduate Studies conferred 37 degrees (including four dual degrees) and eight certificates.

Commencement speaker was Forrest Faison, III, M.D., vice admiral (retired) Medical Corps, and former surgeon general of the United States Navy, who also presided over the pinning of military students.

President John T. Langell, M.D., Ph.D., presented honorary degrees to Chander M. Kohli, M.D., and Duane J. Taylor, M.D. (’85). He also recognized J.G. M. (“Hans”) Thewissen, Ph.D., Ingalls-Brown Professor of Anatomy, who was recently named a Distinguished University Professor – just the second such designation to be made in NEOMED’s nearly 50-year history.

Gonfalonians and marshals

The College of Medicine Gonfalonian (ranked academically first in the class), William Downing, M.D., was also named Class Speaker and honored with the Excellence in Pediatrics Award and the Ideal Physician Award, along with membership in the Alpha Omega Alpha and Virtuous Healer honor societies. Representing the College of Pharmacy was Maria Ganios, Pharm.D., who held the distinction of being both Gonfalonian (first in her class) and a member of the Rho Chi honor society.  

While the College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy select their top student, respectively, to carry their flags (gonfalons), the College of Graduate Studies selects a faculty member for the honor, because it has multiple programs. This year, S. Scott Wisneski, Pharm.D., program director, Health System Pharmacy Administration and associate professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, was chosen for the honor.

Grand Marshal for the day was Patrick J. Gallegos, Pharm. D., associate professor of the Department of Pharmacy Practice.