Alums share stage with Class of 2024

Commencements for Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Pharmacy, Education and Health Sciences Feature Brief Speeches from University Alumni

June 21, 2024
A photo shows a pair of Touro University California students with the Class of 2024 as they take a selfie after commencement ceremonies outside the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in May.
A pair of Touro University California students with the Class of 2024 take a selfie after commencement ceremonies outside the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in May.

Pomp and circumstance were on full display across three days in May as the latest cohort of Touro University California alumni were awarded nearly 400 doctoral and master’s degrees, advanced professional certifications and credentials.

“Since the very beginning of TUC’s journey, our dedication to public health has been unmistakably evident,” said Dr. Tami Hendriksz, Interim Chief Academic Officer for the University, Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, and an alumna with the Class of 2006.

“Through myriad community initiatives like pop-up vaccination clinics and diabetes education programs, we’ve tackled pressing issues ranging from obesity to advocating for those facing addiction, mental health challenges, poverty, housing insecurity, and incarceration,” Hendriksz said. “But our commitment extends beyond these endeavors: It permeates every facet of our institution, driving us to do more, to be more, and to serve our communities with unwavering compassion and determination.”

Commencement ceremonies for the University’s three colleges each featured an alum who encouraged the Class of 2024 to celebrate their accomplishments and look ahead to a bright future.

Dr. Alan Kadish, President of the Touro University System and New York Medical College, presided over the College of Osteopathic Medicine ceremony. Patricia Salkin, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Touro College and University System, presided over ceremonies for the College of Pharmacy and the College of Education and Health Sciences.

Kadish noted that 76% of this year’s COM graduates matched into residency programs in California, with 62% of the class matching into primary care.

“While many of our graduates do continue to become medical specialists, the primary care shortage in the United States is a serious one, particularly as the population ages, and we’re very proud of the fact that our students who’ve been inculcated in the idea that service is so important have chosen in such large numbers to enter primary care, and we look forward to them making an enormous contribution to the health of Americans,” Kadish said.

Alumni Speakers Take the Stage

Dr. May Lin (DO Class of 2010) served as the Alumni speaker during the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Commencement ceremony on the evening of May 20 at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.

“We encourage you to stay connected with the University and strengthen the relationships you forged as a student with your Touro family,” Lin said. “We know that the legacy of any great university is measured by the accomplishments of its alumni, so at this time we want to recognize you, as well as all of the Touro University California alumni.”

Lin serves as Assistant Dean of Graduate Medical Education and Program Development within the College of Osteopathic Medicine, a position she has held since September 2022. She previously served as Adjunct Faculty within the College, and as an Assistant Professor of Primary Care as a Primary Care Physician focused on Osteopathic Integration.

All told, Lin has been with Touro for nearly 12 years. She remains a practicing Primary Care Physician with One Medical, a membership-based primary care practice.

Dr. Jimin Lee (PharmD Class of 2019) served as the Alumni speaker for the College of Pharmacy’s Commencement ceremony the morning of May 21 at the Memorial Auditorium.

“Today is a day to remember, a well-deserved day to celebrate four long but short years of hard work, perseverance, and resilience,” Lee said. “There will be many moments moving forward where you think back to this day, and it will bring sheer joy, knowing that you accomplished a great achievement for your career, your education, for your loved ones, and for all your parents. So remember to tell yourself how proud you are because we often forget how important it is to tell ourselves those exact words.”

Lee serves as Pharmacy Operations Supervisor at UCSF Health in San Francisco, a position she’s held for nearly two years. She served previously as a Pediatric Pharmacist and as a Pediatric Clinical Pharmacist with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in both San Francisco and Oakland.

Brenda Mitchell (MA.Ed. Class of 2015) served as the Alumni speaker during the College of Education and Health Sciences’ Commencement ceremony the evening of May 21 at the Memorial Auditorium.

Mitchell walked those assembled through a process that showed that everyone in attendance has at one time or another needed the services of a physician assistant, nurse, public health professional, or educator – professions for which Touro University California’s College of Education and Health Sciences prepares its graduates.

“You are the agents of change, social justice, and service in this community, and you are Touro alumni,” Mitchell said. “I ask you as alumni to share your time and talents to help build a stronger community for Touro University California.”

Mitchell serves as an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education and a Clinical Coach Coordinator in the College of Education and Health Sciences. She is a reading specialist whose areas of expertise also include instructional design, educational coaching, and project management. She also serves as Treasurer on the TUC Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Jillian Fang, (MSMHS Class of 2023) was the Alumni speaker for the Master of Science in Medical Health Sciences ceremony the afternoon of May 23 inside Lander Hall on Touro University’s campus.

Fang is entering the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s DO program this fall.

An estimated 370 students were eligible to take part in Commencement this year. Nearly two dozen of them completed two programs with the Class of 2024: 12 earned Dual DO-MPH degrees, seven earned Dual PharmD-MPH degrees, and four earned both Credentials and Master’s degrees through the Graduate School of Education.