Congratulations Class of 2024

By Nick Nobel
May 20, 2024
A group of graduates wearing regalia and giving the Hook 'em Horns.

The Class of 2024 M.S., Ph.D. and Pharm.D. graduates walked across the stage in style to celebrate their accomplishments on May 10, 2024. The College of Pharmacy held its third ever combined convocation ceremony for all graduating students.

Graduates lined up to celebrate their big day during an exciting, austere and raucous event. From the podium, Dean Samuel M. Poloyac welcomed the crowd and introduced the ceremonies.

"I would like to ask each of our graduates to take a moment to think back to when you entered our program. For many of you this was in the middle of the pandemic, where you had to make virtual friends, come off mute, turn on cameras, join breakout rooms, try to find a minute for an absolutely necessary break and maybe even shoo your pets off of the screen. Through all of this, you found a way to succeed."

–Dean Samuel M. Poloyac

Dean Poloyac also honored the memory of Dr. Walt Fast, who unfortunately passed away during this academic year. Walt's regalia was included on stage where he normally would have sat, front and center in the rows of faculty celebrating our graduates.

"Over this past year our college experienced the untimely loss of one of our most beloved faculty members, Dr. Walter Fast. Every year, without fail, we would be here celebrating together with Walt as our colleague, teacher, mentor and friend. Walt joined our faculty in 2002 after completing his Ph.D. at Northwestern and his post-doc at Penn State. His passion for his work was fueled by his even greater passion as a servant leader, educator and mentor. His humble, thoughtful and kind demeanor coupled with his occasional corny dad jokes made him so beloved by so many in our college."

–Dean Samuel M. Poloyac

This year's commencement speaker was Dr. Kenneth S. Ramos, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Services at the Texas A&M University System. Ramos is an accomplished physician-scientist and transformational leader, with designations in the National Academy of Sciences (Lifetime Associate) and National Academy of Medicine (Elected Member). He is recognized throughout the world for his scientific contributions in the areas of genomics, precision medicine and toxicology.

A man wearing a suit and giving a speech.

Graduate student Dr. Cody Black gave a speech on behalf of all the masters and doctoral graduates.

A man wearing regalia and giving a speech at a podium.

"Even though our journeys are certainly different, we ended up here together today with our Ph.D.s. Today marks a significant milestone in our lives, one that we've worked tirelessly to achieve. And despite many obstacles, including the loss of colleagues and mentors, the pandemic derailing our plans, and a new dean with his new ideas, we rose to the occasion, supporting each other with unwavering determination and a sense of fellowship that transcends any challenge."

–Dr. Cody Black

Masters and doctoral graduates were awarded their degrees by Dr. Maria Croyle, Associate Dean John Richburg and all of the graduates' respective degree supervisors.

After the announcement of all graduating students and their academic honors, Doctor of Pharmacy graduates were awarded their degrees by Senior Associate Dean W. Renee' Acosta, Associate Dean Diane Ginsburg, Assistant Dean Justin Samuel and Assistant Dean Ashley Castleberry. Awarding of degrees was followed by a rousing speech from Class of 2024 President Sadika Eslaminejad.

A woman wearing regalia and clapping while giving a speech in front of a podium.

"When reflecting on the past four years, I wondered how I could possibly find the words to sum up the experiences we shared. Then I decided, let's just see what ChatGPT could come up with. And after reading what it created, I can fully say this speech is not brought to you by ChatGPT. Because I would never use the word 'moreover' three times in one paragraph, attempt to speak for five minutes without making a joke or refer to you as my 'esteemed colleagues.' Especially because you are so much more than that. You are role models, future mentors, leaders and exemplary scientists. The newly-named doctors I am honored to call my friends."

–Dr. Sadika Eslaminejad

Dr. Cathleen McCormack, president of the College of Pharmacy Alumni Association, welcomed all graduates as newly-minted alumni and gave the recitation of the Oath of a Pharmacist in a festive burnt orange suit.

A woman wearing a cowboy hat and a burnt orange suit.

Congratulations again to all M.S., Ph.D. and Pharm.D. 2024 graduates of The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy!


A line of people in their regalia giving the Hook 'em Horns.
A woman hugging a man wearing regalia.
A graduate student wearing regalia and being hooded.

College of Pharmacy 2024 Class Officers

Sadika Eslaminejad

Vice President
Abby Barnett

Ryan Bloesser

Access the College of Pharmacy Class of 2024 commencement program.

Explore the digital photo album from the College of Pharmacy Class of 2024 commencement ceremony.

Watch the full video of the ceremony.

Photos by Sandy Carson.

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