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Remarks from 2011 BSPS Valedictorian, Mr. Steven Lombardo

Lombardo

Lombardo

It’s hard to believe that a little less than four years ago, we set out on our college journey.  I think I speak for many when I say how amazed I am at how quickly the time has passed.  I can still remember my first day moving in on campus and getting situated in my new home.  This, of course, is a momentous occasion for every parent who can’t wait to drop their teenager off at college.  Nevertheless, coming to college marked the beginning of a transition from the days of adolescence to the days of maturing into a young adult.

As pharmacy students, we’ve worked incredibly hard over these past four years. From biochemistry and medicinal chemistry to pharmacology and toxicology, we’ve experienced one of the most difficult curricula that I can think of for any undergraduate to take on.  We’ve experienced sleepless nights, written numerous papers and essays, met deadline after deadline, and endured stockpiles of exams.  Throughout this journey, there were times when we could’ve given up and said this is too hard, this is too much for me, or I’m not cut out for this.  But we didn’t.  When the going got tough, we got tougher and we persevered.  The ability to persevere is an important quality that we should cherish and carry with us for the rest of our lives.  We’ve also had a little help along the way, and I’d like to personally thank Dean Early for all the delicious danish he’s provided us throughout these past years.

We’ve grown up with many luxuries and comforts that many parts of the world cannot afford, and in an era of ipods, cell phones, and computers, it’s all too easy to forget how much each of us already has.  A few years ago, I was reminded of this truth during a talk given by a former child soldier named Ishmael Beah from Sierra Leone in West Africa.  In 2007, Ishmael Beah visited The University of Toledo to discuss his recent book and to describe his experiences as a child soldier when war suddenly erupted in West Africa in the 1990s.  Despite the painful and tragic experiences that he witnessed as a child, he was able to inspire and encourage all of us to never forget the contribution that we can make in the life of someone else.  While events in Africa and other parts of the world can seem so distant, it was selfless individuals who had intervened in his life to remove him from the war and help him regain his humanity.

As future pharmacists and researchers, I cannot think of anyone more capable to make important contributions in science and medicine as well as in our surrounding communities. Never stop challenging yourself to reach new heights, and never forget the ability that you have to make a difference.