In March, Zachary Contreras ‘88, PharmD, took his son to Pacific for the annual summer soccer camp. Little did he know, it would land him the role as keynote speaker for the Pacific Latino Graduation Ceremony. The ceremony is an annual bilingual celebration that honors more than 100 Latino graduates and welcomes more than 200 family and friends.
“After meeting with Ines Ruiz-Huston, EdD, Latino community outreach program coordinator, and learning more about the program I knew I wanted to be involved in such a great initiative. I was honored and humbled to be asked to deliver a message to such a distinguished group of young men and women,” said Contreras.
The Latino community outreach program serves as a bridge and hub for the local community and Latino-based community organizations. It has an average of 36 recruitment and pipeline programs and reaches over 6,000 students a year. Dr. Contreras grew up in the Latino community and although he admits he was a bit naïve, he also had great family support. In his keynote address, he reminded students to “remember the sacrifices they made, to always give back, and never forget where they came from.”
“Some of these young men and women have grown up in adverse situations. I feel it is important to work with the program to help ensure they are successful and given the best opportunity to succeed,” said Contreras.
“We were honored to have Dr. Contreras as our keynote speaker. He is an inspiration for us all. We are truly blessed to have him in our Pacific family,” said Dr. Ruiz-Huston.
Dr. Contreras earned his doctor of pharmacy degree from Pacific in 1988 and has worked in many pharmacy industries including retail, managed care, clinical practice management, health care business intelligence and pharmacy benefit management. Currently, he is the pharmacy benefits coordinator for Sutter Select, Sutter Health.
During his undergraduate years at Pacific, he played soccer and his passion for the sport continues. Dr. Contreras holds a United States Soccer Federation national “C” coaching license and coaches at various levels. He is married to his wife of 26 years, Suzette, and they have three sons, Zachary (25), Zane (20), and Jackson (17).
When asked about his mentors he said, “My boys remind me that no matter how funny or cool I try to be, I’ll always be ‘dad.’ Last but most importantly, my biggest mentor is my wife. She keeps me grounded, shows me how to be positive and helps me keep a balanced perspective on life.”