Four distinguished speakers will inspire and motivate Western University of Health Sciences graduates at the University’s 2009 Commencement ceremonies in Pasadena, Calif.

Richard Bond, DO ’82, DrPH, will address the College of Allied Health Professions and the College of Graduate Nursing at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 14. Bond was in the first graduating class of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) and is a member of the WesternU Board of Trustees.

Lucinda Maine, PhD, executive vice president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, will speak to College of Pharmacy graduates at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 14.

William G. Anderson, DO, past president of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), will address COMP graduates at 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 15.

Marty Becker, DVM, veterinary contributor to ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America,” will talk to College of Veterinary Medicine graduates at 3 p.m. Friday, May 15.

Bond, who is board-certified in Family Practice and Geriatric Medicine and maintains a very busy family practice in Orange, said he will talk about technology and caring.

“Our information systems are just overwhelmed with data that needs to be processed,” he said. “If we don’t use technology to enhance our ability to process it, we won’t be able to keep up.”

Bond remembers his own graduation and how scary it was to leave the safety of the classroom for the “real world.” But he knows these graduates will be ready for the challenges ahead.

“They will come to rely upon the education they got at Western very heavily,” Bond said. “They’ll find they’re well prepared for the tasks they have to accomplish based on the education they received.”

A common theme running through the keynote presentations is the opportunity graduates have to change health care in this country. Maine is borrowing President Barack Obama’s slogan, “Yes We Can,” to illustrate how College of Pharmacy graduates will be agents of change for the profession. She has held a number of leadership positions, including the position of Senior Vice President for Policy, Planning and Communications with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

Health care must change to meet 21st century needs, she said.

“They have the biggest stake because it really is their future,” Maine said of this year’s graduates. “They have the most relevant portfolio of skills and abilities to make the changes in not just pharmacy practice but health care.”

William G. Anderson, DO, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Osteopathic Medical Education, Detroit Medical Center (DMC), will talk to COMP graduates about the opportunities and responsibilities they will face as osteopathic physicians.

Anderson was a founder and first president of the Albany Movement, which spearheaded the Civil Rights Movement in Southwest Georgia. He is responsible for the development of osteopathic medical education programs for students, interns and residents at hospitals within the DMC.

“Physicians assume a leadership role in the communities where they will practice,” Anderson said. “They do that because a patient has a tendency to trust what they say, not just about their health, but civic issues, political issues, all the issues we now confront. People tend to trust their doctor.”

Becoming a veterinarian is often a lifelong pursuit, and many of the CVM graduates as children brought home stray animals, bandaged the family pet and dreamed of being a veterinarian, Becker said.

“The students sitting in those seats get to say, ‘I’m a veterinarian,’ ” he said. “It’s fun reflecting back on that journey.”

Becker is no stranger to WesternU. He received the 2002 Media Award for Advancement in Health & Humanism at WesternU’s annual A Tribute to Caring gala and also attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Veterinary Medical Center. He is a popular author and columnist, a practicing veterinarian and a frequent guest on many national network and cable TV and radio shows.

Founding Dean Shirley Johnston and current CVM Dean Phil Nelson did not take the conventional route to building the college, Becker said.

“They didn’t just follow the well-worn path,” he said. “They looked for a different way of educating veterinary students. It’s really been my pleasure to have been there almost from the embryonic stage and see how well they’re doing.”

All commencement ceremonies will be held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena, Calif. For more information, visit WesternU’s commencement Web site at