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The BSPS Program graduates its first class and valedictorian

Odeh-Jordan Fakhoury is the program's first valedictorian

BSPS graduates at 2024 Commencement

The College of Pharmacy is pleased to announce its first graduating class of the Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) program. First announced in 2021, the new major is the first of its kind in Illinois and was created to enhance the appeal of UIC to undergraduates interested in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences.

“We are really proud of these first graduates of the BSPS program. They were pioneers in entering this new program, and I think that spirit and drive will bode well as they move on in their careers,” says Dean Glen Schumock.

The program is led by Dr. Charles McPherson, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Education and Clinical Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice.

“Since the launch of the BSPS program, I have had the opportunity to work closely with an amazing and academically astute group of students,” says McPherson.  “Being able to assist this inaugural class of graduates realize their professional dreams feels like having a seat on the front row of history.”

Students complete the BSPS program coursework in the final two years of their undergraduate degree, and have the option to apply to the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program and enroll as P1s in their final year of BSPS. This year, the BSPS valedictorian is P1 student Odeh-Jordan Fakhoury. We asked him about his experience so far at UIC Pharmacy, the BSPS program, and how he feels about being the program’s first valedictorian.

Q & A with valedictorian Odeh-Jordan Fakhoury Heading link

Odeh-Jordan Fakhoury, 2024 BSPS Valedictorian

What does it mean to you to be the valedictorian of the BSPS program?

I am proud that my hard work is being recognized. It is an immense privilege to be the valedictorian in the first ever BSPS graduation cohort. It was not an easy journey, but I am thankful for all of my peers, professors, and advisors who paved the way for my success.

What made you decide to pursue the BSPS program?

I was initially a chemistry major as the BSPS program was not established until my sophomore year at UIC. Once I learned about the program, it made more sense for me to pursue it due to its continuity with my PharmD degree.

What’s your favorite memory from your time in the BSPS program?

I would like to acknowledge Dr. Bruzik for his dedication to his students and his continuous support for his student’s success. I also found medicinal chemistry to be an interesting introduction to drug-design, drug-receptor interactions, and many more topics.

Were there any challenges you experienced during the program that you were able to overcome?

It was definitely difficult to adjust to my last year of the BSPS program, which was my P1 year of pharmacy school as well. During that time, I was also participating in research for my honors capstone project. The workload is significantly more demanding. However, with the right mindset, it is possible to adapt, whether it be through forming study groups or identifying new study strategies.

What advice would you give to students who are just starting the BSPS program?

My advice to students who are starting the BSPS program is to exercise moderation. While studying is essential, it is important to recognize that college is a time for personal growth as well. It is important to learn how to effectively manage your time to allow for rest, extracurricular activities, and other interests.

What are you looking forward to in your next 3 years in the UIC PharmD program and your future career?

In the next 3 years, I hope to gain more opportunities to be involved in industrial pharmacy. I have great interest in drug discovery and clinical trial design which I would like to explore further. I wish to gain experiences that enrich my portfolio through collaboration with professors and involvement in professional organizations within the COP.