On Saturday, Sept. 30, 87 first-year pharmacy students at California Health Sciences University received their white coats in an emotionally moving ceremony at the Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall on the campus of Clovis North High School.

The white coats symbolize the entrance of each student into the pharmacy profession.

In addition, the students in the College of Pharmacy’s Class of 2021 got together at the start of the school year and wrote a unique Pledge of Professionalism. During the ceremony, they recited the “We Do 100%” pledge in front of a crowd of about 400 family members, friends, teachers and others.

60% of Students Are From Valley

There are 87 students in the Class of 2021 and 60% are from the San Joaquin Valley, according to the university. Many of them are the first college graduates in their families.

Here is the breakdown on where the students received their university degrees before enrolling at CHSU:

  • 24%        Fresno State
  • 21%        Other CSU campuses
  • 20%        University of California campuses
  • 15%        Out of state colleges
  • 12%        Other colleges
  • 8%          Fresno Pacific University

“The mission of the school is to provide pharmacists for the Valley,” said Daniel Brown, the pharmacy school dean. “It’s a wonderful, inspiring mission.”

To fulfill that goal, the university has raised about $2 million in private donations for scholarships, Brown said. First-year pharmacy student Karen Pelham, for example, is receiving $6,000 in assistance.

In 2016, the CHSU College of Pharmacy received the 2016 CVS Health Diversity Award, which included a five-year $250,000 grant to promote pharmacy as a career for high school students.

In all, the CHSU College of Pharmacy totals 265 students. Its first graduates, a class of 60, will receive their doctorate degrees in a ceremony next May.

Applications for the CHSU College of Pharmacy 2018-2019 academic year are available through PharmCAS at

Forty-eight credits of prerequisite courses are required for CHSU’s four-year Doctor of Pharmacy program. Applicants with a baccalaureate degree are preferred for admission.

(CHSU is a privately funded university founded by the Assemi family. Farid Assemi, principal, Maricopa Orchards, is a trustee, as is Farshid Assemi, president, Central Distributing. Darius Assemi, CEO/president of Granville Homes and GW Wire publisher, serves on the university’s advisory council.) 

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