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University of the Pacific’s Class of 2019 includes more than 2,000 graduating students who will celebrate at four commencement ceremonies over the next several weeks in three cities — Sacramento, San Francisco and Stockton.

University of the Pacific’s Class of 2019 includes more than 2,000 graduating students who will celebrate at four commencement ceremonies over the next several weeks in three cities — Sacramento, San Francisco and Stockton.

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Pacific News

Pacific to graduate more than 2,000 physician assistants, filmmakers, lawyers and more

May 10, 2019

University of the Pacific's Class of 2019 includes 2,032 future physician assistants, filmmakers, pharmacists, lawyers, dentists and more. They will receive their degrees at four commencement ceremonies over the next several weeks in three cities - Sacramento, San Francisco and Stockton.

"I'm so very proud of the graduating students. Each of them came to Pacific to find their purpose so they could be successful and make a difference in the world. I congratulate them and look forward to seeing what good they will do in the future," said President Pamela A. Eibeck, who announced her retirement in January after 10 years as president of the oldest chartered university in California.

That future is bright.

Jess Hess has been obsessed with movies since she was young, but she never thought she could get a job in the film industry. This week she will be among the first graduates of the 2-year-old digital media program, Media X, in which she learned performance capture, virtual reality and traditional filmmaking. In August, she will enter the prestigious American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory in Los Angeles as the youngest-ever producing fellow.

"Specifically, what I like about producing is that I'm the one who fixes everything," Hess said. "A lot of things go wrong on a film set, whether someone broke a light, someone's not showing up or the location's messed up. The producer is the problem-solver. ... I think being at Pacific really has changed my life because of the faculty and their willingness to help. When I see people watching my films, it's the best feeling in the world."   

Sydnie Reyes, who already has a psychology degree from Pacific, will graduate later this month from McGeorge School of law. She created Pacific's Center for Inclusion and Diversity and advocated for a student-led space for trainings, conversations and quiet study for minority and first-generation students. She was president of the Latino Law Students Association, vice president of the Student Bar Association, and a mentor to first-year law students as a Torts Fellow. McGeorge's nominee for the 2019 National Jurist Law Student of the Year, Reyes was a certified legal intern with the Sacramento County Public Defender's Office and will work there as she studies for the bar exam.

"I'll probably be emotional in my cap-and-gown moment," Reyes said. "Life is always a work in progress. But for me especially, I was able to find those moments of integration during this last year. Moments when I can see my passion come together."

Juan Ramirez, a native of Chiapa, Colima, Mexico, is graduating in June with a degree in dental surgery from Pacific's Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. He plans to work with underserved Spanish-speaking populations. Ramirez formed Dugoni's first-ever Hispanic Student Dental Association, providing oral health screenings, preventive care and education in Hispanic communities; led a lunchtime group for student-dentists to practice Spanish; and was a member of the dental school's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. For these and other efforts, he won Pacific's Champion of Diversity and Inclusion Award.

"I love all the outreach we do at Pacific, helping people who really need it, which means a lot to me," Ramirez said. "It's more than just helping the underserved population. I want to be a motivation for Hispanics and other minorities to see what I'm doing and encourage and guide them to go into the oral health field."

Making a positive difference in the lives of others is a shared purpose among the Class of 2019 and each one of Pacific's graduates has a unique story. Read more stories of student success >>

The all-university commencement ceremony will be 9-11 a.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Alex G. Spanos Center on the Stockton Campus. Alumnus and The New York Times best-selling and Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña '96 will be the featured speaker at the university's main graduation.

For information on Pacific's Commencement 2019 and to see a live stream of the ceremony, visit or follow #UOPacific19.  

More commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, June 16

Pharmacy and Health Sciences
In addition to nearly 200 doctor of pharmacy degrees, the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences will confer 21 doctor of audiology degrees, 36 doctor of physical therapy degrees, and 145 additional undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in applied science, speech-language pathology, and pharmaceutical and chemical sciences. Commencement ceremonies for Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences graduates will be 9 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at Alex G. Spanos Center on the Stockton Campus.

The Pacific McGeorge School of Law commencement includes juris doctor degrees going to 147 new attorneys. The school will also graduate 11 students with master of science in law degrees,  17 with master of laws degrees, 30 with master of public administration degrees, four with master of public policy degrees, and three with doctor of juridical science degrees.

McGeorge School of Law will hold commencement ceremonies 2-4 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, 1515 J St., Sacramento.

The final event of Pacific's commencement season is the June 16 ceremony for the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Some 244 graduates will be awarded doctor of dental surgery degrees, bachelor of science degrees in dental hygiene, master of science degrees in orthodontics, and certificates of completion in advanced oral and maxillofacial surgery, among others. The school's International Dental Studies program is graduating 25 dentists from eight countries, including China, Egypt, India, Iraq, Kenya, Pakistan, Russia and, for the first time since the international program started in 1987, Turkey. They are earning doctor of dental surgery degrees and are now eligible to sit for dental boards in the United States. The university's inaugural class of its physician assistant program will confer 44 graduates with master's degrees.

The Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry commencement is at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 16, at The Masonic, 1111 California St., San Francisco.

More honors
Pacific awards its highest honors to distinguished individuals within and beyond the campus community during commencement season. Among the honors to be bestowed this spring:

  • Eugene E. LaBarre, associate professor of preventive and restorative dentistry at Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, will receive the Distinguished Faculty Award. Each year, one faculty member is selected for this honor, which recognizes outstanding accomplishment in teaching, research, creative endeavors and service to the university.
  • Nine people will receive the Order of the Pacific, the highest honor granted, which recognizes members of the university who have given distinguished service and made outstanding contributions to the university over a significant number of years. They include: Frank H. Wiens, professor of piano in the Conservatory of Music, 43 years of service; Julie A. Davies, professor of law at McGeorge School of Law, 35 years of service; William A. Kehoe, professor of pharmacy practice in the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, 34 years of service; Marilyn E. Draheim, professor of curriculum and instruction in the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education, 33 years of service; Robert E. Hanyak, professor of speech-language pathology and audiology in the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, 33 years of service; Eric W. Hammer (posthumously), professor of music education in the Conservatory of Music, 26 years of service; Bruce N. Peltier, professor of psychology and ethics in the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, 25 years of service; Brian L. Weick, professor of mechanical engineering in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, 24 years of service; and Lynn H. King, assistant vice president for Student Life, 19 years of service.

Class of 2019 overview
Statistical highlights of the new graduating class (numbers do not include the McGeorge School of Law or Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry):

  • New graduates range in age from 19 to 66.
  • The Gladys L. Benerd School of Education will award 293 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees.
  • College of the Pacific, the university's arts and sciences college, will award 438 bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • Conservatory of Music will award 51 bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • Eberhardt School of Business will award 177 undergraduate and graduate degrees.
  • School of Engineering and Computer Science will award 185 bachelor's and master's degrees in fields ranging from bioengineering to engineering physics.
  • University College, which offers educational opportunities for non-traditional students, will award 19 bachelor's degrees. Graduating students come from 34 states outside California and 24 nations.


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