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CLAREMONT, Calif., July 30, 2014--(PR Newswire)--

Former Marine and Self-Described 'Proud Mexican American' Finally Finds His Way to Career of His Dreams

Silva to be honored along with 79 of his fellow classmates at KGI School of Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony on August 23

PR Newswire

CLAREMONT, Calif., July 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Pharmacy is not Antonio Silva's first career, but he is certain it will be his last. In the past, the 34-year-old Riverside, California, resident has served in the U.S. Marine Corps and owned and operated his own small business.  However, he could never forget what he was really passionate about―science, medicine and, most importantly, helping sick people feel better. 

Cpl. Antonio Silva will receive his White Coat as a member of the Founding Class of the KGI School of Pharmacy on Aug. 23, 2014.

"My uncle is diabetic," explains Silva, who describes himself as a "proud Mexican American." "When I was younger, I would translate for him, explain what the doctors and nurses were saying, and help him get the tools and resources that he needed to manage his diabetes."

But, despite his growing interest in health care, Silva chose to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps and then follow in his father's footsteps as a small business owner in the transportation industry.

"My dad really pushed the business end," Silva says. "We clashed a lot when I was I younger because he had a set plan for me. The business and home, everything was very close together, and he couldn't understand why I was interested in something different."

It was Silva's mother, Norma Alvarez, who finally convinced him that it was time to make a change and do what he really wanted with his life.  She had recently been diagnosed as pre-diabetic and got a lot of valuable information about how to manage the condition from her local pharmacist.

And, next month, despite the delay, Silva will take part in a White Coat Ceremony (WCC) recognizing him as a member of the founding class of the KGI School of Pharmacy. Students entering a four-year PharmD program traditionally receive white coats ― a symbol of clinical service and care ― to welcome them into the profession as colleagues dedicated to patient care.

"This is a very exciting time to be entering the pharmacy field," KGI President Sheldon Schuster said. "PharmDs are breaking into new areas of practice in industry and regulatory affairs and, at the same time, many PharmDs are playing a much greater role in direct patient care."

In addition to President Schuster and School of Pharmacy Dean Dr. Kathy Webster, speakers at the ceremony will include state Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), sponsor of a bill expanding pharmacy practice (SB 493) in California, John Roth, CEO of the California Pharmacists Association, KGI Board Chairman Robert Curry, and KGI Trustee and former CEO of Amylin Pharmaceuticals Daniel Bradbury. Dr. Arcelia Johnson-Fanin, founding dean of the Fiek School of Pharmacy at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, will be the featured speaker.

"While this is a wonderful time for the profession, we also know that there are many new schools of pharmacy that have opened recently or are about to open," Dean Webster said. "So we are extremely focused on developing a program that will put our graduates at the leading edge of pharmacogenomics, bioinformatics and other forward-looking areas of pharmacy practice."

The KGI School of Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony will take place on August 23 at 3 p.m. in the Garrison Theater at Scripps College in Claremont, California. In the audience, rooting for his son's success will be Antonio Silva Sr., who is recovering from a recent heart attack.

"My father is a proud Mexican who never went to the doctor in his life, but now he has more of an appreciation for what medicine can do," says Silva, who has been helping to make sure his father gets the right medication and sticks to a healthy regime.

"There's a huge gap in health literacy and healthcare outcomes in the Hispanic community," he adds. "I'm hoping I can contribute and help make it smaller."

For more information about the KGI School of Pharmacy, visit

Founded in 1997, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) is the seventh and newest member of the Claremont Colleges consortium. Its mission is to further education and research aimed at translating into practice, for the benefit of society, the power and potential of the life sciences.

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SOURCE Keck Graduate Institute