Graduation address given by Lyn Bronger

Lyn Bronger gave the occasional address at the Faculty of Pharmacy graduation ceremony held at 9.30am on 23 March 2007. Ms Bronger is a pharmacist and pharmacy educator, and recipient of the title of Honorary Fellow of the University of Sydney.

The photo of Lyn Bronger giving the occasional address is copyright, Memento Photography.

Lyn Bronger

Graduation address

Graduates, Friends & Relatives of Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Having attended these graduation ceremonies over the last decade, I have noticed more of the graduates are like me, A female and from a non Anglo celtic background NOT Male, NOT Anglo celtic like my husband, John. Indeed if our dean was a woman, he too would reflect adequately the composition of you, the graduates.

Pharmacy is amongst the most multicultural of all professions, BUT with unparalleled UNITY, be it Brotherhood or Sisterhood. Why is this so? We are a profession with a small business base. A profession of the people. We are empathetic people, regardless of our background. The close knit relationships, you have made during your university life will welded you together through a life time in every field of the pharmacy profession Some of you will go into hospital, others in industry, but the majority will find careers in community pharmacy. Here, I must confess my bias towards community pharmacy. Although I began my career with a short stint in hospital, I have owned pharmacies in all it’s different settings since my mid 20’s.

We live within a health scheme, under continual political and financial pressure together with the ever present greed of supermarkets expanding their market share presents the pharmacy profession into an exciting era. Even with these threats, pharmacy suits an ageing Australia. I also speak as the proud parent of Catherine, our daughter who graduated B.Pharm only a few short years ago. My husband and I have seen pharmacy up close, and have confidence in the profession. We are thrilled that Catherine is following in our footsteps. Indeed, she is already investigating pharmacy ownership.

As a pharmacy owner, I have employed many pharmacy students & have seen the improvements in the standards of graduates over the last decade. I have to congratulate the faculty for the continuous improvements of their output of graduate both in quantity and quality. I think I am well placed to comment on how this faculty both influences the way our profession practices and is influenced by how pharmacy is practiced today and into the future. Pro Vice Chancellor Charlie Benrimoj’s success in consulting and then badgering the profession to change continues with the present dean Prof Igbal Ramzan. The 2 new chairs of Aging & Management recently created & funded by the pharmacy industry, through the Pharmacy Practice Foundation is proof of the regard in which the Faculty of Pharmacy is held and because community pharmacy will be treating the aged chronic ill revolution we face. Both age care and management is so important & will make the faculty a leader in pharmacy education and research in Aust & overseas.

You may be the first graduate in your family as I was, or a 2nd generation graduate as my daughter was. The degree that you received today reflects the sacrifices of your parent, family and supporters as much as it does on the individual whose name appears on the degree. I can tell by the huge smiles and the loud applause each graduate received, of the very proud parents & friends behind each graduate. Indeed we should all applaud the mums, dads, relatives & supporters who helped achieve these degrees today. It is an example of a family effort that is a feature of the many cultures that constitutes Australia today. There maybe many of you sitting here, having received their degree who think it has been a great solo effort that only reflects individual intelligence & drive. Don’t be so shallow. You have been given the opportunity sometimes with great personal sacrifice to succeed in an education system with all it’s faults that presents superior opportunities compared to other countries. HECS & the increasing burden of funding for universities means that now as an alumni of the Faculty & of the University of Sydney, you have a commitment to help your future colleagues enter this profession like others in the past have done for you. We are much like every family, wanting to see each successive generation achieve better that they. I have heard many times that pharmacy is a profession where the harder you work the more successful you are.

I have heard many times how lucky I am to be a pharmacist. I have heard many times how fortunate, I am to own a community pharmacy that does not to have to compete against the big end of town. Let me tell you that luck, hard work and being fortunate are only the start of it. Yes there is good remuneration, great success and incredible personal satisfaction in pharmacy. As a female, ABC (Australian born Chinese) I consider that I have had it all. Lucky people in pharmacy are passionate & make their own luck. They put up their hand when there is no payment and hard work seems the only reward. But recognition like today’s honor for me is reward ten fold for something I have enjoyed doing. I challenge you to get involved in your profession. Do not be a fence sitter or by stander. Participate and explore the opportunities available Graduates, don’t be fooled that this is the only time you will receive a degree in the great hall. Statistics tell us that many will return for a 2nd and 3rd degree. I hope that pharmacy will still be the foundation of your career as it has been mine.

I received my BPharm over 30 years ago. At the time I thought it was the completion of my education. I was the 3rd daughter of a 4th generation Chinese family and the 1st to ever be awarded a university degree. What else did I have to prove? My father regretted all his life, not to have had the opportunity to attend university. His most common saying whilst I was growing up was that he would beg, borrow or steal to get his 6 children an education. The early years of my career were very typical of my generation. I married another pharmacist. I was very fortunate that John encouraged me in my career. No doubt he needed a business partner when he decided to go off and work at the Guild for almost 2 decades. We had several businesses and several more children, 4 in fact. Richard, Edward, Jacqueline and Catherine. They have had to share both their parents with their pharmacy family. As a mum, I am proud of their achievements and grateful to be blessed with the successful adults they have become today. … they are my outstanding success.

Some of you may have peaked early & done well academically. Others have struggled academically. The good news is that the playing field is once again level and your degree is the ignition that begins your career journey. But remember, your degree today has a use by date. It requires continuous updating. You have only started on your journey of lifelong learning hopefully in partnership with your almata. A word of advice here. Take care when choosing your first preceptor or mentor. They will have a profound effect on how you view the profession. Choose someone with passion and someone who models the professional you wish to become. Don’t be part of the mechanical profession of technicians driven by where the next highest pay packet. Learn & be grounded. Our community has invested much in you - be a little selfless.

As a woman in this profession, I confess that many women isolate them selves from the profession. The proportion of female graduates here today is not reflected in either leader ship, management or ownership in the profession. This may, in part be attributed to the pressures of running a home & family .... something that is being slowly addressed by the SNAGS Sensitive New Age males, hopefully, many in this audience today.I have been a foundation member of the Women for Pharmacy committee formed under the Alumni of the Pharmacy Faculty. Many of the faculty staff, and especially Pro Vice Chancellor Carol Amour, Dr Sinthia Bosnic Anticevich & Assoc Prof Ines Krass have made major contributions in our understanding and helping to address the abnorminity that exists today. I have also had the pleasure of co ordinating both the Pharmacy 4th year management course and the 2nd/3rd year mentoring tutorials. I especially welcome Dr Leslie White as the new Chair of Pharmacy Management and look forward to the fruits of her research and leadership impacting on our profession.

Finally, my hope for the future is that you as graduates of The Faculty of Pharmacy Will further develop a passion for our profession that will sustain not only you and your family but the health of our community.