College of Pharmacy Gala Celebrates Achievement while Cementing Bonds

April 11, 2023

More than 220 students, faculty, administrators, and alumni came together for the sixth annual College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (CPHS) Gala held on April 1 at Leonard’s Palazzo in Great Neck, NY. The event serves as an opportunity to honor noteworthy alumni who have made meaningful contributions to the life of the College while raising funds for student scholarships.

During her opening remarks, Anne Y. F. Lin ’84P, ’86Pharm.D., FNAP, Dean and Professor of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences—and also one of the evening’s honorees—told the audience that CPHS faculty secured seven National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants totaling more than six million dollars in funding.

Dr. Lin asked, “What better way to begin the process of learning how to work collaboratively than at a College that has programs that represent different members of a health-care team?” She added that the new state-of-the-art St. Vincent Health Sciences Center will not only provide modern facilities for the Nursing and Physician Assistant (PA) programs, but every program housed in CPHS.

She called CPHS a “College on the move, one that offers cutting-edge education to students in all our programs so they can carry out the Vincentian mission of St. John’s and make a difference in the world.”

Andrew J. Bartilucci, Ph.D. ’44P, ’98HON, Dean Emeritus of the College of Pharmacy (a post he held for 34 years), received the Lifetime Achievement Award and recently celebrated his 100th birthday. In videotaped remarks, Dr. Bartilucci conveyed his deep appreciation for the award. “I was privileged to work with many good people at St. John’s: faculty, staff, and administrators. And I cannot forget the students, without which we would have no work.”

Recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award, Joseph M. Brocavich, Pharm.D., Senior Associate Dean for Pharmacy, and Associate Clinical Professor, Clinical Health Professions, told the audience that when a teacher is recognized in this fashion it provokes reflection on a long career spent in the service of something greater than oneself.

“My career at St. John’s has spanned 38 years. I have been truly blessed to educate so many talented, dedicated, and outstanding pharmacists.” Dr. Brocavich added that during this assessment, he came to realize that the accomplishments were about the people, and not the events, products, accolades, or awards.

Several second-year students in the Physician Assistant program discussed their enthusiasm for the event. “This is the first time I’ve attended the gala,” noted Russell Ridolfo. “It’s very humbling to be here with so many role models in the room. Since I started last year it has been a great experience. It’s very tough, but it’s worthwhile.”

Courtney Voccio stressed that she loves being part of a school that celebrates milestones. “I’m honored to be in this program, and to be included in an event as important as this. You’re not just a student. You’re part of a community.”

Spending time away from the classroom in an informal setting with her professors was a highlight for Gabrielle Tricorico. “It’s also great to see many of our guest lecturers being honored and learn more about them as well.”

Noting the program rigors, Kelly Farrell joked, “This is actually a three-hour study break.” She added, “Something like this really humanizes everybody. Our professors are going to be our future colleagues. It’s a great opportunity to mingle and feel welcomed into the profession.”

Jacqueline Mattone, who counts several family members as alumni of St. John’s University, said, “Tonight is really special because there are Pharmacy students and PA students in attendance. It’s nice to see a collaboration amongst us, because in clinical practice, we will work together in hospitals, outpatient centers, and other health-care centers. It’s great to connect and foster some camaraderie.” She added, “For me, St. John’s feels like home. In this program we share some of our toughest moments, so that support is important.”