Satinder Sandhu ’85, PharmD owes part of his success to the persistence of his friend Harpartap “Lucky” Basrai ’85, PharmD, who strongly encouraged him to apply to Pacific. Dr. Basrai was one of the first friends he made when he moved to the United States from India and they both attended Fred C. Beyer High School in Modesto.

“I started to have doubts that I would not be able to handle the rigors of college. I was just getting used to reading English,” said Dr. Sandhu. “I decided to forget the whole thing, but Lucky was persistent.”

“Lucky called me on the day the application was due. He asked me if I had mailed my application. I told him, ‘I think I’m going to junior college.’ He said, ‘What!’ He drove to my house. It was a Saturday and the only post office open that late was ironically inside the pharmacy. […] If not for my connection with Lucky, I wouldn’t have gone to Pacific.”


As a pre-pharmacy student, Dr. Sandhu was connected with Ralph L. Saroyan ’64, RPh, who consistently checked in with him to make sure he was adjusting to life at Pacific. Once he started the doctor of pharmacy program, it was through the support of his friends and professors that he thrived. Through his clinical rotations, he met Douglas “Doug” Hillblom ’78, PharmD, who continues to be a mentor to this day.

“I have many fond memories through all these years and I look forward to making more.”

Dr. Sandhu is currently a district manager for Walgreens’ Sacramento North District. He has helped raise funds and oversee Walgreens team members who volunteer for the American Diabetic Association’s Tour De Cure, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk, as well as events for Sacramento Pride and Susan G. Komen Northern and Central California.

Dr. Sandhu has also helped the School raise funds for countless student events. He has been actively involved in the Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association (PPAA), serving on the board for six years and as president from 2011 to 2012. In being named the 2018 PPAA Alumnus of the Year, he said: “I feel honored and as I reflect on this award I come to recognize that the relationship between the School and myself is a reciprocal one. I appreciate the award as an affirmation of this connection, a connection which began when I entered Pacific 37 years ago. I have many fond memories through all these years and I look forward to making more.”

By Anne Marie H. Bergthold

Nominate a Pharmacy Alumnus or Alumna of the Year

Do you know an alumnus or alumna who has gone above and beyond to serve the University and/or the pharmacy profession? Nominate them for the Pacific Pharmacy Alumni Association Alumni of the Year.

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