Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Celebrating the Class of 2020 looked different this year, but our enthusiasm has never been greater! Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) graduates know, from what they have accomplished, that it takes adaptation and perseverance to earn an advanced degree.


Commencement week kicked off with the UI College of Pharmacy Genesis Board—young alumni who provide opportunities to facilitate student success—offering a virtual toast to the graduates. An "Ode to the Class of 2020" was read aloud, authored by Emily Vyverberg, ’09 PharmD. Graduates shared their favorite memories, plans to carry out the pharmacist oath, and thoughts on transforming into a pharmacist.

A virtual senior recognition event took place the evening before commencement, Wednesday, May 13. Dean Donald Letendre and Associate Dean Susan Vos welcomed the graduates and their families. The 2019 Teachers of the Year offered congratulatory messages and student organization presidents introduced their respective organizations. The evening concluded with class superlative awards and Dean Letendre’s closing message.

The Doctor of Pharmacy live-streamed Commencement took place at 10:00 am Thursday, May 14. President Bruce Harreld, Executive Vice President and Provost Montse Fuentes, and Board of Regent President Michael Richards welcomed the graduates and their families to the unprecedented ceremony.

Marjorie Peck, Class of 2020 President

Invited speakers included Dean Letendre, Class President Marjorie Peck, and Secretary Tom Vilsack, former governor of Iowa.

After degrees were conferred, graduates were presented on a series of scrolling ‘cards.’ Numerous short congratulatory videos, submitted by families, faculty, staff, and alumni concluded the event.

The PhD live-streamed Commencement took place on Friday, May 15. Kendra Bell received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Pharmaceutics with assistant professor Lewis Stevens as her advisor. Bell, originally from Binghamton, New York, holds an undergraduate degree from Campbell University in North Carolina. Her research is on the mechanobiology of reactive oxygen species mediated toxicity in neurons and glia. Bell has taken a position with QPS, a contract research organization in Delaware.

Doctor of Pharmacy Statistics

  • Number of graduates: 103
  • Number of students receiving combined Doctor of Pharmacy / Master of Public Health degree: 7
  • Number of students receiving a Certificate in Palliative Care: 6
  • Number of countries represented: 8
  • Number of states/territories represented: 8
  • Graduates from Iowa: 47 percent
  • Based on an exit poll, graduates will practice in 21 states, 30 percent planning to practice in Iowa. 10.6 percent will practice in a medically underserved community, 22 percent will practice in community pharmacy, 6 percent in hospital pharmacy, and 1 percent in managed care.

Doctor of Pharmacy Graduates

Ahmed Abdelgadir ** Christopher Fox Kristopher Miyakusu  
 Genan Alshawy * Mohammed Fredericks Ryan Molander **  
Mona Alsheikh * Allison Gardner ** Nathan Mott *  
Olivia Altemeier * Alec Gates ** Leah Mouw *  
Jordyn Anderson * Levi Gates Zachary Mulford  
Robert Askren Sean Giese Nichole Nunemaker *  
Christine Behrendt Ana Glavas * Fadumo Osman  
Collin Belk *** Cambridge Hampsher Eesha Patel  
Brittany Bittner * Grace Han Meghal Patel  
Kebba Bojang Alexander Harlan Marjorie Peck ***  
Michael Boller ** Hannah Hemry Brenna Robinson **  
Cole Borchardt Dakota Hiner Michael Russell  
Matthew Boyd * Uyen Hoang Caleb Rux **  
Joshua Brausey Caprisse Honsbruch *** Austin Sack  
Matthew Busalacchi Kelsey Howland Aaron Schmitz ***  
Cheyenne Caldwell Joel Hoyman Paul Scholbrock *  
Kirsten Carstarphen * Connor Hunter Nickolas Scott  
Delaney Cheek Sonja Hutchens Alexa Sieren **  
Jingshi Chen ** Anne Hwang Spencer Smythe  
Kevin Chiang Michelle Jakaitis Miranda Staab  
Jisoon Chong Sarah Kadura ** Carolyn Stone  
Courtney Cobert * Tiffany Katz Louis Swaka  
Kelsey Coffman ** Tiffany Khachikyan Nicole Therrien *  
Katelyn Corcoran * Bret Kinne Diana Theusch *  
Christopher Cozzolino Haley Kirchner Sonya Thiessen *  
Michael Daugherty Alexa Klimek Alexis Thumann *  
Roberta Davis Sherlie Llorens Jay Tieri  
Courtney Dawson ** Samantha Marquardt * Kelly Tocki *  
Amy Dunleavy Mattison Mason Amanda Toebe  
Reid Ellingson Matthew McDonald * Kristopher Tuttle  
Jace Engstler Mackenzie McGraw Bethany Vogts  
Kyle Erkel Maryanne Menge Kirsten Wells  
William Evans * Samantha Meyer ** Karli Welter *  
Kelly Ferris Francesca Milavetz Caren Wi *  
Courtney Fischels  Austin Miller *    

*With Distinction
**With High Distinction
***With Highest Distinction