Categorized | Education

College of Pharmacy celebrates White Coat Ceremony


The 89 students who make up the UH-Hilo College of Pharmacy Class of 2016 clebrated their white coat ceremony on Sunday.

More than 400 of the students’ peers, professors, friends and families watched the new pharmacists don their coats at the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center.

The students recited the “Oath of a Pharmacist” affirming their commitment to professionalism, respect, integrity and caring.

Mayor Billy Kenoi addressed the crowd.

The ceremony is a rite of passage into clinical practice for students entering their first year of the four-year professional program.

Comments from some of the students:

“I think it hit me when the associated dean made his opening speech,” student pharmacist Moani Hagiwara said. “I kind of got a little chicken skin. A chill went through my body. I grew up here on this island too so it’s a little bit of home pride as well. It’s exciting to have it here especially.”

“It feels really good,” Allan Higa said. “Now I feel like I’m getting like on the pathway to becoming a pharmacist. And I feel like I’m part of the community more and I’m obligated to serve them.”

“Couple seconds before I walked on the stage,” Kyle Cabison said, “and I seen the procession line and shake everybody’s hand and realized then, this is really it. My palms started getting a little sweaty, heartbeat got a little faster.”

This is the sixth class of the College of Pharmacy, which is the only fully accredited College of Pharmacy in Hawaii and the Pacific region.

A total of 355 students are currently enrolled in the pharmacy program; half are Hawaii residents.

According to the university, 79 percent of the graduates of the Class of 2011 reported they have secured a job or a paid residency.

The average salary of graduates working full time is $117,000.

The college is in the process of securing funding for a permanent facility on campus, which will boost the program’s hopes of securing accreditation. Currently, the college is spread out over four locations in the Hilo area.

The design phase has been completed.

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