Pharmacy alumnus named California Pharmacist of the Year adding to long list of Pacific inductees
University of the Pacific continues its legacy of producing outstanding pharmacy leaders by adding another to the ranks of 13 Pacificans who have been named the California Pharmacists Association Pharmacist of the Year.
This year’s recipient Mike Pavlovich joins Pacific alumni and faculty members—dating back to 1979—selected for the honor, making Pacific representatives the most awarded of any California school. The list includes:
2021 Michael Pavlovich ’89
2015 Ryan Gates ’04
2014 Douglas “Doug” Hillblom’ 78
2010 Ralph L. Saroyan ’64
2005 Christopher Woo ’88
2004 Phillip Oppenheimer
2003 John Steven Hambright Sr. ’71
2001 Clark Gustafson ’66
2000 Robert Nickell ’81
1994 Donald “Don” G. Floriddia ’71
1992 Michael A. Pastrick ’73
1981 Charles Green ’68
1979 Royce L. Friesen ’65
The award recognizes a California Pharmacists Association member for their outstanding activities and leadership, who is well regarded by colleagues for their professional advancements.
Pavlovich said he feels a sense of both disbelief and validation for the recognition.
“It’s always a good day when your colleagues recognize you for the things you’ve done and the efforts you’ve made,” he said. “(Receiving the award) puts you in the company of a lot of real giants of pharmacy practice and the profession.”
Pavlovich, president and owner of Westcliff Compounding Pharmacy in Newport Beach, earned his doctor of pharmacy from the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy in 1989. While at Pacific, Pavlovich learned from fellow Pharmacist of the Year recipients Donald “Don” G. Floriddia ’71, PhD and Ralph L. Saroyan ’64, RPh. He has been a leader in pharmaceutical compounding and sports medicine for two decades and prior to starting his pharmacy 10 years ago, Pavlovich was a pharmacist for SportPharm.
“Pharmacy is a great profession with a long history of innovation and relevance in everyday life,” said Pavlovich, who will be honored at a ceremony on June 19. And working in sports medicine has “been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling aspects of my practice for the past 21 years.”
Pavlovich has worked with professional and collegiate athletes and was the sole pharmacist among 100 medical professionals supporting athletes during the 2008 Summer Olympics. He recalled when the U.S. volleyball team spotted him after their gold-medal win and introduced him to their families: “This is our pharmacist.”
“It was a special moment,” he said. “It was validating for that whole month that I spent away from my family.”
Other notable points of his career include being president of the California Pharmacists Association and trustee for the American Pharmacists Association from 2008 to 2014. In 2012, Pavlovich was the recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award in Specialized Pharmacy Practice from American Pharmacists Association.
There were a lot of positives about enrolling at Pacific, said the Fresno native, including the advantage of a three-year program and learning from exceptional faculty such as Floriddia and Saroyan, he said.
Floriddia expressed his congratulations to Pavlovich on what he said is “well-deserved success as a pharmacist, community leader and family man.”
“He has displayed the creativity and determination as a leader when he was a student and now as a health care professional,” Floriddia said. “I am proud and confident today in his ability to rise to the next challenge.”
Saroyan said he has “followed (Pavlovich’s) meteoritic rise to leadership within the profession, not only in California as one of the youngest presidents of the California Pharmacists Association; he rose to dominance at the national level serving within the leadership at APhA. Finally, he served as one of the first pharmacists for the U.S. Olympic Team along with Pacific alumnus Robert Nickell.”
“Don and Ralph have been real strong mentors throughout my career, even to this day,” Pavlovich said. “(At Pacific), there was a great level of collegiality between faculty and students and they treated you as if you were one of them. And even though you knew you didn’t have the same level of experience, you felt like you were pursuing the same career paths.”
Pacific’s established the third pharmacy school and the first accelerated doctor of pharmacy program in the state when it was founded in 1955. Since then, the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy has been at the forefront of offering a dynamic student-centered education focused on leadership and innovation.
Saroyan said Pacific is unique in that it develops its students right out of high school, which allows them to have relationships with both the professional students and students of other majors, be a part of the pharmacy school as first-year students and grow as leaders.
Pacific has the perfect balance of exposure and guidance that makes it special, said Marcus Ravnan ’94, PharmD, professor and associate dean for student affairs at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy.
“Mentorship starts early for students, where they see leaders lead and engage in their profession. In that, they find purpose and, in that purpose, they find their life calling,” Ravnan said. “From there, the cycle repeats and another is brought up through the ranks.”
“We take pride in the fact that we’ve probably produced the most leaders of any school in the state, as well as nationally,” Floriddia said about Pacific’s pharmacy school and students. “We always seem to be at the tip of the spear.”