For Immediate Release

Contact: Andrea E. Garcia, Touro University California
Associate Vice President, University Advancement

W: (707) 638-5272
C: (707) 280-8771
andrea.garcia@tu.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 11, 2020

Touro University California Celebrates the Class of 2020 with Virtual Commencement Ceremony

Colleges to gather online on May 26 and 27 to honor students and celebrate their accomplishments

Vallejo, Calif. (May 11, 2020): Touro University California (TUC) is pleased to announce that on May 26 and 27 faculty and staff will celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020 through a virtual commencement ceremony where students will have the opportunity to share this moment with family and friends from the comfort of their homes. In total, TUC will award 435 degrees to distinguished future doctors, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, public health practitioners, educators and educational administrators.

“Congratulations to our 2020 graduating class,” said CAO and Provost Dr. Sarah Sweitzer. “I know you will use your experiences to create a positive change in our world in line with Touro’s values for the dignity of each individual, an appreciation of diversity, and a compassion and service to society.”

Celebrations will begin on Tuesday, May 26 with the College of Pharmacy and College of Education and Health Sciences honoring graduates from their nursing, education, public health and physician assistant programs. On Wednesday, May 27, TUC faculty and staff will honor the graduates from the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s osteopathic medicine and medical health sciences programs.

The following student speakers will provide special remarks during their college’s ceremony:

·     Tony Lotte, PharmD, College of Pharmacy, President of AMCP (Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy), Vice President of Rho-Chi Honor Society, will be beginning his First year Residency at Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento

·     Reagan Sanez, Master of Science in Nursing, College of Education and Health Sciences (CEHS) whose capstone project in the Nursing Program focused on the use of classical music as an alternative pain management approach for cancer patients

·     Lisa Marie Smith, Master of Education, CEHS, a two-time Touro graduate who received a NapaLearns Fellowship towards her Innovative Learning degree

·     Yvette Alcalá Hernández, Master of Public Health, CEHS who has promoted inclusive health education and health equity for Black infants and their families while at Touro

·     Sadia Chohan, Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies and Master of Public Health, CEHS who has a passion  for humanitarian work that began in high school and continues today

·     Roman Roque, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, who served as a founding member of the wellness, academics, resilience and mindfulness committee and grant writer for Vallejo People’s Garden while at Touro

·     Haneef Muhammad, Masters of Science in Medical Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine who seeks to become a practicing osteopathic physician serving underprivileged communities

·     Umar Saeed, Master of Science in Medical Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine, who seeks to become an osteopathic physician that optimizes patient movement dynamics and practices humanitarian medicine

Given the uncertainty of the ongoing shelter in place regulations due to COVID-19 and no clear timeline for when life will resume a more normal cadence, the TUC administration was faced with the difficult decision to transition the 2020 commencement ceremonies into an online platform to help ensure the safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff, friends and family.

“Touro understands how important the commencement ceremony is to our students and their families,” said Dr. James Binkerd, Associate Dean of Student Affairs. “Our goal is to have an event that will virtually recreate a graduation ceremony similar to what they would have received at an in-person event, including speeches from various dignitaries and the announcement of graduate names.”

TUC is in the process of collecting key information from students to personalize the virtual ceremony so that it is a memorable event fitting of all the hard work students have put in to earn their degrees.

In addition to the virtual ceremony, TUC will offer Class of 2020 graduating students the opportunity to attend and participate in the 2021 commencement ceremony.

“We wanted to give our students the option to physically walk across the stage to receive their diploma cover and have the opportunity to take pictures commemorating their achievements,” noted Sweitzer.

About the Touro College and University System:

Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 18,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro has 35 campuses and locations in New York, California, Nevada, Illinois, Berlin, Jerusalem and Moscow. New York Medical College; Touro University California and Touro University Nevada; Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division; as well as Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Ill. are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: www.touro.edu/news