Vincent Payne ’87, PharmD, JD exemplifies what it means to be a lifelong learner. He has had a career in medicine, finance and law, but it all started with his doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) journey at Pacific. Dr. Payne came to Pacific as a graduate student from southern California. He found he was “pretty good” at chemistry as an undergraduate but didn’t have a vision for how to apply that talent. A counselor suggested pharmacy.

Dr. Payne arrived at the Stockton campus after a late-night drive following a summer school final exam. He arrived in the early morning hours and slept in his car until it was time for orientation. “When the sun came up and I could see the campus, I was in awe. Thick canopied trees everywhere. Gorgeous brick buildings with nice pathways between them.”

Left to right: Vincent Payne ’87, PharmD, JD, Ronald Cloud ’84, PharmD and Howard Siu ’15, PharmD

Dr. Payne forged friendships quickly in pharmacy school. “So many cultures, so many backgrounds, but we all faced a similar challenge…pharmacokinetics,” he said. “The common curriculum encouraged camaraderie, teamwork and perhaps some competition. The insular (in a good way) pharmacy community deepened the friendships.” Providing services at community health fairs built his confidence as a healthcare leader. “We would go out to the public, wear our best lab coat, and take blood pressure and test glucose levels. What was remarkable for me was that it was my first time ever talking to anyone as a person with authority. Those events were very impactful. Also, pharmacy school was where I learned that it was best to admit if I didn’t know something. That is an underestimated requirement of professional life. I guess I learned how to be a professional, how to be an authority, at UOP.”

While at Pacific, Dr. Payne found valuable lifelong mentors, including Professor Emeritus Ralph Saroyan ’64, RPh. After Dr. Payne’s mother passed away during his first year of pharmacy school, Saroyan played a crucial role in helping Dr. Payne navigate his educational experience. “He counseled me on everything, and he was always available to me. At 20 years old, losing my mom, being away from home, my life could have gone in many different directions. Ralph kept me from going off the rails. Thanks Ralph.”

“We would go out to the public, wear our best lab coat, and take blood pressure and test glucose levels. What was remarkable for me was that it was my first time ever talking to anyone as a person with authority. Those events were very impactful. Also, pharmacy school was where I learned that it was best to admit if I didn’t know something. That is an underestimated requirement of professional life.”

After graduating with his PharmD in 1987, Dr. Payne completed a pharmacy residency at University of Iowa. While working as a retail pharmacist, he earned his juris doctorate from University of California, Los Angeles. He transitioned into finance, obtaining a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter, one of the most recognized credentials in the world of investment. Today, he is retired, but always finds new things to learn. He currently dabbles in history and astrophysics. “I only have a few hundred subjects left to learn,” he says. “It was Pacific that set me on the pathway of curiosity. I have come to believe that very few things in life are simple. If something is simple, then you may have exhausted your curiosity. Let’s seek better explanations and embrace complexity.”


By Becky Perry ' 01, '09
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