The Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences held a virtual Commencement Ceremony Friday, May 22, 2020 celebrating 50 graduates from the MSBS and MSMS programs.

Western University of Health Sciences Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences (GCBS) celebrated the achievements of 50 graduates at its Commencement Ceremony held Friday, May 22, 2020 on Zoom. The class included 21 Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS) graduates and 29 Master of Sciences in Medical Sciences (MSMS) graduates.

“Your foundation is now much stronger with advanced knowledge to pursue professional health programs,” said GCBS Interim Dean Guru Betageri, PhD. “Many of you will now pursue health sciences programs in medicine, dental, optometry, and other related fields. Some of you will continue with biomedical research, developing new drug molecules to combat deadly diseases such as COVID-19. Whichever path you pursue, it is crucial to remain passionate about your work. By taking the additional step to earn your master’s degree, you have demonstrated dedication and commitment to the health field. You should be incredibly proud of your achievement.”

The Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences honored founding dean Steven Henriksen, PhD, during its virtual Commencement Ceremony Friday, May 22, 2020 .

The ceremony included messages from WesternU President Daniel R. Wilson, MD, PhD, and Provost David Baron, DO, MSEd. The College gave special recognition to GCBS Founding Dean Steven Henriksen, PhD, who is retiring in June. The WesternU Board of Trustees approved Emeritus Professor status for Henriksen, who also helped build WesternU’s research program.

“I really appreciated the opportunity to be founding dean of these two programs,” Henriksen said. “It was something I always wanted to develop since the time I came to WesternU. Outside of my own research interests, this is the most important accomplishment that I can point to in my tenure at WesternU.”

As each graduate’s name was announced, a family member or friend placed the academic hood on the graduate’s shoulders. At the conclusion of the hooding, GCBS Director of Student Affairs Marcos Villa said the word that best describes the graduates is “generous.”

“I consider all of you some of the most generous people I’ve ever met,” Villa said. “Each of you has achieved your master’s degree to be ready and prepared to give something more. This is truly the definition of generosity. I thank you for your commitment to treating, healing and caring for others.”

The ceremony ended with students able to share their thoughts and talk to each other. Graduate Tabita Perez, MSMS ’20, thanked staff and faculty for their help in mentoring her.

“You gave us an opportunity and a chance that no one else would, and that means a lot,” Perez said. “Those extra hours you put in training us to really be the best we can be for this next step, thank you. That took time. That took effort. That took energy, extra out of what you get paid. And I can count on one hand how many people I have met who are like that. So thank you.”

GCBS Associate Dean Christina Goode, PhD, encouraged graduates to celebrate with family and also reminded them of an important truth.

“And remember we’re always here,” she said. “Even though you’ve graduated you never leave us.”

MSMS graduate Preny Sayadyan celebrates during the hooding ceremony.