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Pacific graduates nearly 2,000 pharmacists, lawyers, teachers

May 10, 2018

Students in graduate cap and gown

Pacific's Class of 2018 is made up of 1,986 future pharmacists, lawyers, teachers, engineers, data scientists and more. They will receive their degrees at four commencement ceremonies over the next several weeks in three cities beginning Saturday in Stockton.

"I'm so very proud of these graduating students," Pacific President Pamela A. Eibeck said. "Each of them came to Pacific to find their purpose so that they could be successful. I congratulate them on their many achievements and I can't wait to see what good they will do in the future."

One such student is first-generation college graduate Nasser Saleh of Stockton who worked hard long before he arrived at Pacific so that he could win a scholarship to make higher education possible. He became a Powell Scholar, Pacific's premier academic merit program, and studied mechanical engineering with plans of designing better cars. A research project in biomedical engineering helped Saleh find his purpose when he saw the difference he could make in others' lives.

"The education I received and experience I gained at Pacific helped me discover a passion that I did not know existed in a field where I can directly improve people's lives," said Saleh, who after graduation will work as a research and development engineer to help design heart valve therapies. "I used to dream of pointing to parts on cars that I designed, but now I dream of someday pointing to someone's heart and knowing that I worked on the device that keeps it beating."

My Tien Doan of Orlando, Florida, came to this country with her family as political refugees in the mid-1990s and will graduate from Pacific's McGeorge School of Law in a May 19 ceremony on her way to becoming an advocate.

"I am living the American immigrant dream and McGeorge made that possible," she said. "All I could do as a little girl was stand back in helpless silence. I couldn't stick up for my parents. I couldn't fight the system. I couldn't be that voice. This angered me. It was also the fire that drove me to find my purpose."

The journey to find his purpose for fellow first-generation college graduate Eric Orosco took him to Ireland and back as he pursued his love of literature, poetry and nature. He traveled to Ireland on a Seamus Heaney fellowship to study poetry.

"Winning the Seamus Heaney was amazing," said Orosco of Sacramento. "That fellowship allowed me to go to Ireland and experience something I couldn't even fathom. There's nothing like going for a walk, sitting on a grassy hill and just writing in Ireland."

Read more stories of student success >>

The main commencement ceremony will be 9 a.m. Saturday, May 12, at Alex G. Spanos Center on the Stockton Campus.

More commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 19, and Sunday, June 17

Pharmacy and Health Sciences

In addition to 200 doctor of pharmacy degrees, the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences will confer 17 doctor of audiology degrees, 36 doctor of physical therapy degrees, and more than 144 additional undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in science and applied sciences. There will be no guest commencement speaker this year.

Commencement ceremonies for Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences graduates will be 9 a.m. Saturday, May 19, at Alex G. Spanos Center on the Stockton Campus.


The Pacific McGeorge School of Law commencement includes juris doctor degrees going to 120 new attorneys. The school will confer master of science in law (MSL) degrees on another 13 students, 10 will graduate with the school's master of laws (LLM) degree, seven will receive master of public administration (MPA) degrees, one will receive a master of public policy (MPP) degree, and one a doctor of juridical science (JSD) degree. The graduates come from around the United States and nations such as France, Austria, Russia, China, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Colombia, Mali and Sudan.

The commencement speaker will be Justice James W. Hardesty of the Supreme Court of Nevada, a 1975 alumnus of the law school on Pacific's Sacramento campus.

McGeorge School of Law will hold commencement ceremonies at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, 1515 J St., Sacramento.


The final event of Pacific's commencement season is the June 17 ceremony for the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Some 200 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 22 dentists from 11 countries, including for the first time dentists from South Africa and United Arab Emirates, who are earning doctor of dental surgery degrees. They are now eligible to sit for dental boards in the United States.

In keeping with school tradition, there will be no guest commencement speaker.

The Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry commencement is at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 17, 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:

  • Lydia Fox, associate professor of Geological and Environmental Sciences and director of Environmental Studies, will receive the Distinguished Faculty Award. One faculty member each year is selected for this honor, which recognizes outstanding accomplishment in teaching, research, creative endeavors and service to the university.
  • Three people will receive the Order of Pacific, 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 Roy C. Bergstrom, the assistant dean for administration at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, for his 37 years of service; Richard E. Fredekind, the executive associate dean and professor of diagnostic sciences at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, for his 33 years of service; and Dianne L. Philibosian, a current member of the Board of Regents, the first woman chair of the Board of Regents and this year's Commencement speaker, for her 20 years of service to the university.

Class of 2018 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 67.
  • 1,000 are women; 612 are men.
  • 5 are Native American; 52 are African American; 178 are Hispanic; 633 are Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 549 are non-Hispanic white; 107 identify themselves as multi-ethnic; and 92 are listed as other.
  • The Gladys L. Benerd School of Education will award 242 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees.
  • The College of the Pacific, the university's arts and sciences college, will award 445 bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • The Conservatory of Music will award 49 bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • The Eberhardt School of Business will award 203 undergraduate and graduate degrees.
  • The School of Engineering and Computer Science will award 201 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 18 bachelor's degrees.

For more information on Commencement 2018 events at University of the Pacific, visit or follow #UOPacific18.

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