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2017 Pharmacy Gala: Celebrating Excellence, Supporting Student Success

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

For Lina Lin ’17Pharm.D., playing the violin in front of St. John’s University alumni, professors, and students was a thrilling experience. Even more exciting, she said, was the chance to celebrate the program and people that made her education possible.

“It was wonderful,” said Lina, who begins a PGY–1 residence at Stony Brook University Hospital after graduating this spring. “It was a way to say thank you to my professors—and all the alumni who donate to pharmacy scholarships. They really make a difference for students like me.”

Lina joined 250 other guests at the Second Annual College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Gala on Saturday, April 1. The dinner—held at Leonard’s Palazzo in Great Neck, NY—honored two professors and a distinguished graduate who exemplify the program’s tradition of excellence and service. The event also raised more than $15,000 to support students.   

Recognizing Success and Service

In his welcoming remarks, Russell J. DiGate, Ph.D., Dean of the College, thanked the guests—including industry and state dignitaries—for making the evening a success. “This celebration,” he said, “was created to acknowledge the wonderful work of our alumni, faculty, and friends, as well as to raise scholarship monies to benefit our students.”

The evening opened with Lina on violin and fellow student Rex Chou ’19Pharm.D. on the keyboard. Along with dinner and dancing, the evening’s honorees received awards for exceptional service: Robert A. Mangione, Ed.D., Provost, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and former Dean of the College; Louis D. Trombetta, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Rocco Stella, R.Ph. ‘57P, who founded a family-owned chain of pharmacies.

“Being acknowledged by one’s colleagues—especially when we have worked beside them for many, many years—is a singular honor,” said Dr. Mangione, who also is a Professor of Pharmacy. “It’s been my privilege to teach in the College for more than three decades. I’m grateful for the confidence they have shown in me—and I’m delighted that so many outstanding alumni have contributed to this evening.”

“It’s fantastic,” said Dr. Trombetta. “I can think of so many other faculty who are deserving of this honor.” The award was especially meaningful, he added, because it was presented at an event that contributes to scholarship funds. “Not only are our alumni successful, but they also truly care about our students, talented young men and women who are so often in need.”

Hope for Future Generations

“I’m humbled by the College’s decision to recognize me in this way,” said Mr. Stella. “I’ve truly enjoyed being a pharmacist, a profession that St. John’s prepared me for. I’m also proud that my children have followed me into the field, choosing to work in our stores.”

 “This gives a great deal of hope to current and new students,” said Ahmed Ibrahim ’06Pharm.D. “When they see so many graduates lending their support, it’s got to be impressive.”

“Rocco was my first boss when I was 14 years old,” said Salvatore Migliorisi ’78P of the honoree. “I was his pharmacy’s delivery boy at the time. Even then, he was a superb role model. After Vietnam, I followed his example by enrolling at St. John’s. It’s amazing to be able to honor him today—and to help out new generations of pharmacy students.”