Convocation 2010

By Rodney Tanaka, Senior Communications Writer

POMONA, Calif. - 07/21/2010 -- The traditional start of the academic year at Western University of Health Sciences will showcase the tremendous growth of the campus. WesternU's Convocation ceremony on Aug. 7, 2010 at the Ontario Convention Center will welcome and honor about 1,000 students beginning their health professional training.  

The keynote speaker for Convocation will be Jeffrey Saal, MD, Senior Founding Physician for SOAR (Sports, Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Medicine Associates): The Physiatry Medical Group, which is responsible for treating the San Francisco 49ers, Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and many other Bay Area teams. He will address the challenges of building a successful professional career.

"I will talk about the decisions I had to make in college, medical school and specialty practice that led to successful outcomes," Dr. Saal said. "I'm going to talk about the points in time when people told me, 'You can't possibly be successful with that.' I'll also talk to them about challenging themselves and not letting barriers to be put up in front of you."

Dr. Saal will transition from keynote speaker to proud parent at the College of Allied Health Professions (CAHP) white coat ceremony. His daughter, Rachel, is entering the Physician Assistant Education program within the CAHP. The white coat symbolizes the responsibilities WesternU students take on as future health care leaders.

"I'm very much looking forward to that from a parent's perspective," Saal said.

The white coat ceremony will reinforce his message for students to challenge themselves to be successful, he said.

"This is one more step on that path," Dr. Saal said.

CAHP Dean Stephanie Bowlin, EdD, PA, suggested Dr. Saal as a speaker because of his impressive background. He works with many of the disciplines represented at WesternU, including physical therapy, physician assistant, podiatry and optometry.

"He is so down-to-earth and straightforward, which fits into our WesternU culture," Dr. Bowlin said. "You can see he's really a very kind and caring physician."

WesternU will hold its Convocation ceremony for the first time at the Ontario Convention Center. The new venue speaks to the tremendous growth at WesternU in recent years, with four new colleges opening in the past academic year. Seven of the colleges will also hold white coat ceremonies at the convention center. The College of Pharmacy will hold its white coat ceremony at the Sheraton Fairplex in Pomona, and the College of Veterinary Medicine will hold its white coat ceremony at Bridges Hall of Music in Claremont.

Following white coat ceremonies, all students and their guests are invited to the WesternU campus for the President's Welcome Lunch. The highlight will be campus tours of the new buildings on campus, including the Health Education Center and Patient Care Center, which are part of WesternU's $100-million expansion project.

"This is the first year we're able to showcase our new buildings," said Beverly Guidry, EdD, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. "It's important for us to create an agenda for Family Day that includes a visit to our spectacular campus.

For more information about WesternU's Convocation and white coat ceremonies, click here.



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