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Commencement 2017

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Pacific News

Looking back at 2017 Commencement

University of the Pacific conferred nearly 2,000 degrees, recognized outstanding students and distinguished faculty during ceremonies on three campuses in May and June.
Jun 16, 2017

For the past 166 years, University of the Pacific has produced stellar graduates who go on to tremendous success in their personal lives and professional careers. This year, Pacific sent off more than 1,900 graduates from four commencement ceremonies in three cities to become attorneys, dentists, engineers, data scientists, pharmacists, teachers and more. Beginning Friday, May 12, graduates and their loved ones gathered with the Pacific community at the Interfaith Baccalaureate Ceremony and Graduation Reception to celebrate the graduates and before the big day. 

The celebration continued on to Saturday as thousands of families and friends poured into the Alex G. Spanos Center to catch a glimpse of their graduates at the University Commencement ceremony. President Pamela A. Eibeck spoke highly of the quality and achievement of the members of the class of 2017, which included an Olympic athlete, a triathalete, a runner who holds several records in her nation of Pakistan and a graduate who was born in a homeless shelter and was receiving his a doctoral degree.  

"...Where you start does not determine how far you go. And Pacificans go far," said President Eibeck. "From Stockton, to Sacramento, to San Francisco and beyond, Pacific graduates are out building a world we can be proud of."

Bestselling author and philanthropist James Patterson gave the commencement address and was bestowed an honorary doctor of fine arts from Pacific. A champion of literacy, Patterson and his wife through their family foundation have established scholarships for aspiring teachers at universities across the country. University of the Pacific was the first intstitution on the West Coast to have student teachers benefit from the Patterson scholarships, the first five of whom graduated this year.

Kathleen Lagorio Janssen

Cynthia Wagner Weick
Silvio Rodriguez

In addition, Pacific celebrated the first graduates from new master's programs in data science and food studies.

Order of Pacific
Three individuals were recognized for their scholarship and contributions to the university with the Order of Pacific, the university's highest honor. Kathleen Lagorio Janssen '68 EDU was honored for her philanthropy, service and 23 years of leadership on Pacific's Board of Regents, including as chair. Cynthia Wagner Weick, founding director of the Powell Scholars Program and professor of management in the Eberhardt School of Business and School of Engineering and Computer Science, was honored for her 27 years of teaching, scholarship and service to Pacific. Silvio Rodriguez, former professor of chemistry in the college of the Pacific, was recognized posthumously for his scholarship, teaching and service over his 38-year career at Pacific.

Alumnus Bill W. Jones '51 COP led the Class of 1967 in their traditional "Rose Walk" at the beginning of the Commencement ceremony. These alumni were inducted into the Half Century Club, comprising alumni who graduated 50 years ago or more, at a luncheon following the ceremony.  

Following the morning ceremony, the College of the Pacific, the Conservatory of Music, the Eberhardt School of Business, the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education, the School of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of International Studies each held diploma and hooding ceremonies honoring their school's graduates.

The Commencement spirit continued into the next week as the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences awarded nearly 400 undergraduate and graduate degrees in pharmacy, physical therapy and speech-language pathology during at the Spanos Center on May 20. That same day, Pacific's McGeorge School of Law culminated its 93rd academic year at its graduation ceremony at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. The school graduated 160 new legal professionals having earned their juris doctor, master of laws (LLM) and master of science in law degrees. Alumnus Paul E. Dassenko '82, chief executive officer and president of Risk Transfer Underwriting Inc., gave the commencement address.

This past weekend saw the culmination of Pacific's Commencement season with the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry's Commencement at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco on Sunday, June 18. Approximately 200 graduates were awarded degrees in dental surgery, dental hygiene and orthodontics, and certificates of completion for advanced education in general dentistry and in oral and maxillofacial surgery. The school's International Dental Studies program celebrated its 30th anniversary and graduated 21 dentists from nine countries, including for the first time Ireland and Nepal.

To view video of the speakers and highlights from the Pacific's 2017 Commencement, visit

Recapture the memories in this photo slide show.

Commencement 2017

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