Press Releases


Rear Admiral Pamela Schweitzer to Speak at  2019 Commencement Ceremony

March 8, 2019

Rear Admiral (RADM) Pamela Schweitzer, the former Chief Pharmacist Officer of the US Public Health Service, will be the speaker at the College’s 139th commencement ceremony which will take place on Saturday, May 11 at 1:00 pm at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

In addition to serving as Commencement speaker, RADM Schweitzer will receive an honorary degree from the College. A second honorary degree will be given to Rocco Giruzzi, a member of the ACPHS Class of 1958.

“We are excited to have Rear Admiral Schweitzer serve as this year’s commencement speaker,” said President Dewey. “Her extensive experience in pharmacy, public health, and delivering support to medically underserved populations provides her with an ideal perspective to address this year's graduates.”

RADM Schweitzer recently completed a four-year term as the Assistant Surgeon General and 10th Chief Pharmacist Officer of the United States Public Health Service (PHS). She retired from these roles in September 2018. 

As Chief Pharmacist Officer (and the first female in this role), she was responsible for providing leadership and coordination of PHS pharmacy programs and professional affairs for the Office of the Surgeon General and the Department of Health & Human Services.

RADM Schweitzer’s outstanding leadership qualities and commitment to public service have been recognized with numerous awards including: the USPHS Mary Louise Anderson Leadership Award (2012), IHS Senior Pharmacist of the Year Award (2013), the American Pharmacists Association Distinguished Federal Pharmacist Award (2014), National Council for Prescription Drug Program (NCPDP) Champion Award (2017), and Surgeon General Exemplary Service Medal (2018). 

“I would like to thank President Dewey and the entire ACPHS community for the opportunity to address the Class of 2019,” said RADM Schweitzer. “I hope that my experiences and insights can help this year’s graduates with the pursuit of their own professional goals – regardless of the career paths they may choose.”

The College will also present an honorary degree to Rocco Giruzzi. Mr. Giruzzi is a longtime independent pharmacist from Utica, NY, who was also past president and chair of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY) and a board member of the New York State Board of Pharmacy. He served with distinction as a member of the ACPHS Board of Trustees for three terms totaling more than 25 years.

“As both a practitioner and a respected voice of pharmacy practice and policy, Rocco has played a key role in helping ensure that independent pharmacists remain a vital part of the healthcare landscape,” added President Dewey. “He has demonstrated similar leadership as a trustee of the College, lending his expertise to initiatives ranging from strategic planning to fundraising. We look forward to bestowing this well-deserved honor upon him at Commencement.”

About Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Founded in 1881, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) is a private, independent institution with a long tradition of academic and research excellence. The College’s mission is to educate the next generation of leaders to improve the health of our society. In separate reports by The Wall Street Journal (2019) and the Brookings Institution (2015), ACPHS was named the #1 value-added college in the country. The College has campuses in Albany, NY, and Colchester, VT.