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Pharmacy, Nursing and Medical Schools to Hold Commencements Saturday

May 1, 2008

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(800) 837-2911, ext. 4037

ATLANTA/MACON — Mercer University will hold the first three of its 10 commencement ceremonies this Saturday. The health schools will graduate their students in separate ceremonies on their respective campuses in Atlanta and Macon. The remaining seven ceremonies will take place over the next two Saturdays.

The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences of Mercer University will graduate 135 doctor of pharmacy and eight Ph.D. candidates at 9 a.m. at Mercer’s Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta. The keynote speaker will be Michael Cohen, Sc.D., president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, a non-profit health care organization that specializes in understanding the causes of medication errors and providing error-reduction strategies to the health care community, policy makers and the public.

Cohen is editor of the textbook, “Medication Errors,” and serves as co-editor of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices’ “Medication Safety Alert!” He sits on a number of advisory panels on issues related to medication safety and served recently on the Food and Drug Administration’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Committee. Over the past five years, Cohen consistently has been recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the top 100 “Most Powerful People in Healthcare.”

Five students will receive the College’s highest scholastic honor, the Reuben C. Hood Award: Xi-Juan Jane Chen of Atlanta, Ga.; Kara Elizabeth Forrester of Rome, Ga.; Mandi Walton Herndon of Macon, Ga.; James Robert Paarlberg of Portage, Mich., and Kara Renee Jones, of Knoxville, Tenn. All recipients have earned a perfect 4.0 grade-point average during their four years of pharmacy education.

Two faculty members will be recognized during the ceremony. Martin J . D’Souza, Ph.D., director of Clinical Laboratory, director of Graduate Programs and professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, will receive the Award for Excellence in Research, and Lisa Lundquist, Pharm.D., BCPS, clinical associate professor of Pharmacy Practice, will accept the Distinguished Educator Award.

At noon the oldest nursing program in the state, the 106-year-old Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University, will confer 56 Bachelor Science in Nursing degrees. Libby V. Morris, Ph.D., director of the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia will give the commencement address. She is an expert on evaluation and assessment, faculty development, first-year programs and online education in higher education and she has received awards for excellence in teaching and in public service. She is the author of several books on higher education and is the editor of Innovative Higher Education, a peer-reviewed, international journal focusing on innovations in post-secondary education. 

On the Macon campus, Mercer University School of Medicine will graduate 90 degree candidates at 5 p.m. at the University Center. Addressing the graduates will be Georgia Sen. Cecil P. Staton Jr., R-Macon. During the ceremony, President William D. Underwood will confer 54 Doctor of Medicine degree, 10 Master of Family Therapy degrees, 17 Master of Public Health degrees, eight Master of Science in Anesthesia degrees and one Master of Family Services degree.

Staton was first elected to the Senate in 2004, and re-elected in 2006, to represent the 18th District that includes Bibb, Crawford, Houston, Jones and Monroe counties. He serves as chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, vice chair of the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee and secretary of the Higher Education Committee. He also sits on the Appropriations and Transportation committees.

College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Speaker: Michael R. Cohen, President, Institute for Safe Medication Practices
Saturday, May 3, 9 a.m.
Sheffield Student Center, Atlanta campus

Georgia Baptist College of Nursing
Libby V. Morris, Director, Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia
Saturday, May 3, 12 p.m.
Sheffield Student Center, Atlanta campus

Mercer School of Medicine
The Honorable Cecil P. Staton Jr., District 18, Georgia Senate
Saturday, May 3, 5 p.m.
The University Center, Macon campus

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah; three regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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