Western University of Health Sciences graduates are on the verge of realizing their dream of becoming health professionals. Helping to usher them into their new roles will be four esteemed speakers, including Dr. Temple Grandin, a renowned leader in animal welfare and autism advocacy whose life story was the subject of an award-winning HBO film.

WesternU’s 31st Commencement Ceremonies will be held May 17 and 18, 2012 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena, Calif. 91101. Click here to view WesternU’s Commencement website. The commencement ceremonies are not open to the general public, but media is invited to attend.

WesternU graduates represent the very best that health sciences education has to offer, and they will be agents of change, improvement and growth in modern health care, said WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD.

“Embrace this new role, for while it will sometimes ask that you continue to be a student, it more often will demand that you be a teacher, friend, confidante and mentor, sought out for your expert skills, your ability to listen, and your wise counsel,” he said. “No one is more prepared to handle these noble obligations than a graduate of Western University of Health Sciences.”

The ceremonies will begin with the College of Allied Health Professions and the College of Graduate Nursing ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 17. The keynote speaker is Devorah A. Lieberman, PhD, president of the University of La Verne.

Michael Maddux, PharmD, FCCP, executive director of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, will address the College of Pharmacy at 3 p.m. May 17.

The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and the Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences commencement ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 18. The keynote speaker will be H. Roger Hadley, MD, dean of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine.

The College of Veterinary Medicine will hold its ceremony at 3 p.m. May 18. Keynote speaker Temple Grandin, PhD, is a leader in animal welfare and autism advocacy, and a professor at Colorado State University. She was listed in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” and was the subject of an Emmy-winning HBO biopic in 2010.