Professional Programs Graduates Ready to Help Others

Nearly 320 students within the colleges of Education, Health Professions and Optometry earn their professional degrees.


Intermittent rain showers did little to dampen the joy and exhilaration felt by nearly 320 Pacific University professional programs students and their supporters at commencement on Saturday, May 18. 

The afternoon ceremony held at Lincoln Park Stadium on the university's Forest Grove Campus culminated countless hours of coursework and clinical practice for soon-to-be occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physical therapists and teachers. 

President Lesley Hallick expressed admiration for students from the colleges of Education, Health Professions and Optometry by noting that an advanced degree is a special accomplishment. 

"As graduates of our professional programs here at Pacific University, you now have the opportunity and responsibility to go out into the world of your choosing and make a difference," Hallick said. "I know you will carry forward the spirit and mission of Pacific as you do so." 

College of Education dean Mark Ankeny ceremoniously "hooded" 40 master's of education or teaching degree candidates. 

An additional 29 students within the School of Occupational Therapy received their hoods from director John White to signify a master of occupational therapy degree. 

School of Pharmacy dean Sue Stein bestowed hoods on 95 doctor of pharmacy degree candidates, and School of Physical Therapy director Richard Rutt did the same for 39 doctor of physical therapy degree candidates. 

College of Optometry dean Jennifer Smythe welcomed 83 doctor of optometry degree candidates to the optometric profession by hooding them as well. 

Earlier in the ceremony, the university and College of Optometry honored alumna Dori Carlson '89 OD as the third recipient of the Kamelia Massih Prize for a Distinguished Optometrist

The honor is named after the late Kamelia Massih, a 1985 College of Optometry alumna who passed away in March 2010 following a three-year battle with cancer. Massih served her patients and members of her community with a level of compassion and care that exemplifies Pacific University College of Optometry alumni. 

Carlson, an optometrist based in Park River, N.D., became the first female president of the American Optometric Association and is currently immediate past president. She has served on the organization's board since 2004, serving as a liaison to many different committees and project teams. 

She developed a "School Readiness Summit," which evolved into a joint statement signed by 30 different organizations calling for comprehensive eye exams to be the foundation of children's vision care. 

Carlson is also the first AOA board member to travel to all 20 schools and colleges of optometry in the United States in an effort to convert students to active AOA membership status upon graduation.  

Additionally, Carlson has recently been elected to the Pacific University Board of Trustees.  

Prior to commencement, student award winners were announced in ceremonies held by each school or college. Following are the award winners:


School of Occupational Therapy - Christine Harrison-Beard, Man Wa Shing

School of Physical Therapy - Tracie Nygaard

College of Optometry - Christopher Lowe

(Many students in the School of Pharmacy and College of Education met or exceeded criteria for Valedictory status)

School of Occupational Therapy

School of Pharmacy

School of Physical Therapy

College of Optometry

Posted by Joe Lang ( on May 18, 2013 at 4:39 PM

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