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Rite Aid President and CEO Keynotes Pharmacy Commencement

Mary F. Sammons, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Rite Aid Corp., will deliver the commencement address on Saturday, May 19, for Duquesne’s Mylan School of Pharmacy. University President Charles J. Dougherty will confer degrees on the school’s 135 graduates, including four students from the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The event will begin with a baccalaureate Mass at 8 a.m. in the chapel at the Administration Building, followed by the commencement ceremony at 10:30 a.m. in the A.J. Palumbo Center. A reception for graduates and their guests will take place in the Duquesne Union Ballroom immediately after commencement.

Sammons, whose address will focus on her five key principles for success, earned a bachelor’s degree in French and a teaching certificate in secondary education before embarking on a retail management career. She is widely credited for revitalizing Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid, taking it from the brink of bankruptcy to become one of the nation's leading drugstore chains. She engineered Rite Aid’s pending acquisition of the Brooks Eckerd chain, which will add approximately 1,800 stores to the company’s existing 3,330-plus stores in 27 states and the District of Columbia. At the end of its 2007 fiscal year, Rite Aid reported total sales of approximately $17.5 billion.

Sammons rose through the ranks from management trainee to president and CEO of Fred Meyer Stores, a food, drug and general merchandise retailer in the western United States, before joining Rite Aid as president and chief operating officer in 1999. She was named CEO in 2003.

That same year, she became the first female to chair of the pharmacy industry’s National Association of Chain Drug Stores. For the last four years, she has been named one of America’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune magazine. Last year, the Wall Street Journal added her to its list of “50 Women to Watch.”

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.