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Pharmacy To See Record Number of Academic Honors
May 3, 2006

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ATLANTA – Guests at the 2006 commencement ceremony of Mercer University’s Southern School of Pharmacy will witness two significant moments in the history of the pharmacy school.  Eight candidates will receive Ph.D. degrees, a record number for the research program. Candidates in the Pharm.D. program also set a record, with nine graduating with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
The following students will receive doctor of philosophy degrees on May 6: Naveen Kumar Bejugam of Hyderabad, India for “Development and Evaluation of Albumin Based Microparticulate System as a Platform Technology for Oral Delivery of Proteins, Vaccines and Drugs”; Aniket V. Badkar of Mubmai, India for “Effects of Formulation and Processing Stress on the Physical Stability of Protein Solutions”; Alphia K. Jones of Macon, Ga. for “Microparticulate Drug Delivery Systems for the Treatment of Drug Resistant Melanoma”; Yin Hwa Lai of Kuching, Malaysia for “Formulation and Evaluation of Polymeric Microparticles for the Delivery of Proteins and Vaccines”; Pravada A. Pendse of Pune, India for “Skin Response to Immunogenic and Non Immunogenic Material as Applied to Vaccine Delivery and Reconstructive Surgery”; Aladin Abdulwahab Siddig of Khartoum, Sudan for “Formulation and Evaluation of Microbicide Preparations for the Prevention of HIV-1 Transmission”; and Rashmi Shrikant Upasani of Atlanta, Ga. for “Response Surface Modeling to Evaluate Active Energy Assisted Skin Transport Technologies.”
During the ceremony, the nine students with 4.0 grade point averages will receive the R.C. Hood Award, the highest scholastic honor offered by the Southern School of Pharmacy. The award honors the memory of Dr. Reuben C. Hood, the first dean of the School. The name of the recipient each year is placed on a bronze plaque on display at the School, and the recipient also receives a plaque at commencement to commemorate the honor. The recipients must have attended the School for all four professional years and must have the highest academic average at the end of the spring semester of the fourth professional year.
This year’s recipients are: Adina Hirsch of Atlanta, Ga.; Chris Jones of Macon, Ga.; Dusty Lisi, Clintwood, Va.; Allison Little, of LaGrange, Ga.; Patrick Passaretti, of Cookeville, Tenn.; Thomas Richards, of Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Amanda Russell, of New Market, Tenn.; Candace Stearns, of Chesterfield County, Va.; and Emily Wood, of Gainesboro, Tenn.
“The Southern School of Pharmacy is pleased to be able to honor nine students this year for their outstanding academic achievements,” said H.W. “Ted” Matthews, dean of the School of Pharmacy and vice president for the Health Sciences. “I know that each of these students will be successful in their careers and contribute much to the pharmacy profession.”
After graduation, Hirsch and Little will begin pharmacy residencies at Atlanta Medical Center; Jones will begin a career with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working with the Division of Strategic National Stockpile; Lisi will complete her residency at Grady Health System, Atlanta, Ga.; Passaretti plans to pursue a career in hospital pharmacy; Richards will practice in the Knoxville, Tenn. area; Russell will continue to work at an independent pharmacy in Jefferson City, Tenn.; Stearns will begin a residency at Emory Healthcare, Atlanta, Ga.; and Wood will begin a residency position at the V.A. Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.
About Mercer University and the Southern School of Pharmacy:
Mercer University’s Southern School of Pharmacy has a century-long tradition of excellence and a national reputation for producing outstanding leaders in the profession of pharmacy. In September 1981, Southern School of Pharmacy became the first pharmacy school in the Southeast and fifth in the nation to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) as its sole professional degree. The School also offers the Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences. Pharmacists from Mercer are currently practicing in 43 states and in several foreign countries. 
Founded in 1833, Mercer University has campuses in Macon and Atlanta as well as regional academic centers in Douglas County, Henry County, Macon and Eastman. With 10 schools and colleges, the University offers programs in liberal arts, business, engineering, education, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law and theology. For 16 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Mercer University as one of the leading universities in the South.