Pharmacy school holds 173rd commencement ceremony


By Kara Sweet

Published May 19, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y.—The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences graduated 150 students at its 173rd commencement ceremony on May 16, 2020. It was the first virtual commencement ceremony in the school’s history.


Optimism for the future

Dean at commencement.

Dean James M. O’Donnell, PhD, addressed the graduates with optimism for their future. “We have seen the introduction of new terms and acronyms: COVID-19, PPE, community spread, social distancing and Zoom,” he said. “However, the advent of these new terms has also brought a re-emergence of even stronger terms: altruism, empathy, compassion and communication."

"I hope these are the terms you will remember when you look back on this time, remember the inspiring ability of humanity to come together in times of adversity and elevate the common good.”

Degrees Conferred
  • 9 bachelor of science in pharmaceutical sciences
  • 19 master of science in pharmaceutical sciences
  • 118 doctor of pharmacy
  • 4 doctor of philosophy in pharmaceutical sciences

Words of wisdom and reflection

Sinnett at commencement.

Mark Sinnett, BS ’83 and PharmD ’87, was the keynote speaker, offering students his tips for success in the pharmacy profession. "You are all leaders, leading both the patient and health care provider to the most effective and safe pharmacotherapy," he remarked. "There is no professional more up to the task."

Sinnett is Director of Clinical and Educational Services and former director of the PGY1 Pharmacy Residency for the Department of Pharmacy at Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York. He is an ASHP fellow, a 1999 ASHP Best Practices in Health-system Pharmacy Management awardee and was honored as the 2014 recipient of school’s Orville C. Baxter Memorial Professional Practice Award.

Guszkowski at commencement.

Class of 2020 president Marissa Guszkowski reflected on the graduates’ personal and professional growth during their time in pharmacy school. “I’m so grateful for the past 4 years with you all,” she said. “You became my family, and I’m so lucky I got to meet all of you.”

In addition to degree conferrals, more than 35 student awards were presented at the ceremony to recognize high academic achievement and professionalism.

The ceremony was followed by an online Zoom celebration with faculty, staff and graduates sharing congratulations and thanks. 

For over 130 years, the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has continually been a leader in the education of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists, renowned for innovation in clinical practice and research. The school is accredited by the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) and is the No. 1 ranked school of pharmacy in New York State and No. 14 in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.