A true milestone in the lives of more than 700 graduates will also serve as a milestone for Western University of Health Sciences.

WesternU will celebrate its 30th Commencement ceremonies on May 19-20, 2011 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif. Click here to visit the Commencement website.

The university has grown from one college – the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) – into one of the most comprehensive health professions universities in the nation. WesternU opened four new colleges in the past two years, began its groundbreaking interprofessional education curriculum, and is set to open the COMP-Northwest campus in Lebanon, Oregon, in July.

COMP bestowed Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees to 31 graduates on June 13, 1982. The number of alumni has since grown to more than 8,000.

Through all the changes, one constant has been Founding President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, who will preside over the 30th Commencement as he has for every one before. His message to those first 31 graduates continues to resonate today.

“When we think of the past, as you know, many memories rush back to us,” he said. “But, most important, the past should serve to give us some perspective for the future. We know where we’ve been. Now our sights and energies must be focused on the next horizon, on what’s ahead.”

Four distinguished keynote speakers will help WesternU celebrate this milestone. State Sen. Ed Hernandez, OD, will address graduates from the College of Allied Health Professions and the College of Graduate Nursing at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 19.

William A. Zellmer, BSPharm, MPH, a consultant, writer and speaker on strategic and professional issues in pharmacy practice, will give the keynote address at the College of Pharmacy ceremony at 3 p.m. May 19.

John B. Crosby, JD, executive director of the American Osteopathic Association, will speak to graduates from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and the Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences at 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 20.

Crosby will talk about the essential qualities that DOs need to keep in the forefront of their minds as they transition from medical school to residency to practice. His message to the graduates: “I know you are all ready to graduate. The bigger, more important question is – are you ready to become an osteopathic physician?”

Nicholas Trout, MA, VETMB, DACVS, ECVS, author and staff surgeon at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, will address College of Veterinary Medicine graduates at 3 p.m. May 20.

Dr. Trout plans to give the graduates practical advice on how to avoid some of the gaping pitfalls of those heady salad days in veterinary practice.

“I’ll touch on the challenges facing this new generation of veterinarians thanks, in part, to our advances in animal health care, and I intend to point out that although the scenery and special effects has changed since the days of “All Creatures Great and Small,” a veterinary degree is still guaranteed to provide a James Herriot experience,” he said.