Perelman School of Medicine 2021 Commencement
March 26, 2021
To:Faculty, Students, and Staff
From:J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD
Suzanne Rose, MD, MSEd
It is our pleasure to invite you to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our graduating medical students at the Perelman School of Medicine’s 2021 Commencement on May 16. A link to the ceremony, which will be conducted in compliance with University guidelines as a virtual event, will be forthcoming.
We are privileged this year to welcome back to Penn as Commencement Speaker Rajiv J. Shah, MD, MS. A graduate of PSOM and Wharton, Dr. Shah now serves as President of The Rockefeller Foundation.
|As a physician and health economist operating at the highest levels of government service and private philanthropy, Dr. Shah has been a leader in global health for two decades. In 2009, he was appointed Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) by President Obama. Dr. Shah reshaped the $20 billion agency’s operations in more than 70 countries around the world by elevating the role of innovation, creating high impact public-private partnerships, and focusing U.S. investments to deliver stronger results.|
Dr. Shah secured bipartisan support that included the passage of two significant laws – the Global Food Security Act and the Electrify Africa Act. He also led the U.S. response to the Haiti earthquake and the West African Ebola pandemic, served on the National Security Council, and elevated the role of development as part of our nation’s foreign policy. Prior to his appointment at USAID, Dr. Shah served as Chief Scientist and Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics at the United States Department of Agriculture where he created the National Institute for Food and Agriculture.
In 2015, Dr. Shah was one of six global leaders appointed by the United Nations to review the world's capacity to prepare for and respond to global pandemic threats.
Earlier in his career, he served in a range of leadership roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he created the International Financing Facility for Immunization, which helped reshape the global vaccine industry and has been recognized as an example of the power of innovative financing for global development. He later founded Latitude Capital, a private equity firm focused on power and infrastructure projects in Africa and Asia. Dr. Shah became president of The Rockefeller Foundation in 2017.
In keeping with his impact, Dr. Shah has received numerous awards, including the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, the highest official honor for a non-resident Indian, awarded by the President of India, and the U.S. Global Leadership Council Tribute Award. In 2020 he was awarded the University of Virginia Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership.
Dr. Shah joins a roster of distinguished scientists, physicians, and health care leaders as commencement speakers. We look forward to hearing from Dr. Shah at this year’s Commencement and hope that you will join us.
Past Commencement Speakers
|1994||Dr. Samuel Thier, President of Brandeis University and former Professor and Chairman of Penn’s Medical School|
|1995||Dr. Stanley Cohen, Kwoh-Ting Li Professor of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine
Dr. David Kessler, Director, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
|1996||Dr. Michael Brown, Nobel Laureate; Paul J. Thomas Professor of Medicine and Genetics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Dr. Louis Sokoloff, Chief, Laboratory of Cerebral Metabolism, National Institutes of Mental Health
|1997||Dr. Philip R. Lee, former Assistant Secretary for Health, DHHS|
|1998||Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director, National Human Genome Research Institute of the NIH
Dr. Stanley B. Prusiner, Professor of Neurology at UCSF and winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Medicine
|1999||Dr. Kenneth I. Shine, President, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences|
|2000||Dr. Jordan J. Cohen, President, Association of American Medical Colleges|
|2001||Dr. Michael S. Brown, C'62, M'66, Nobel Laureate; Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics; Director, Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School|
|2002||Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH|
|2003||Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation|
|2004||Dr. Henry W. Foster, Jr., Professor Emeritus and former Dean, School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College and Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vanderbilt University|
|2005||Dr. Helene D. Gayle, Director of the HIV, TB, and Reproductive Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation|
|2006||Dr. Jeffrey M. Leiden, Former President and Chief Operating Officer, Pharmaceutical Products Group, Abbott Laboratories|
|2007||Dr. Atul Gawande, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School|
|2008||Dr. Jordan J. Cohen, President Emeritus, Association of American Medical Colleges, Professor of Medicine and Public Health, George Washington University|
|2009||Dr. Christine K. Cassel, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and ABIM Foundation|
|2010||Dr. Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, The Emmanual and Robert Hart Director of the Center for Bioethics and the Sydney D. Caplan Professor of Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania|
|2011||Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein, Executive Vice President and Dean|
|2012||Dr. Peter C. Agre, University Professor and Director, Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, Bloomberg school of Public Health|
|2013||Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response RADM, U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services|
|2014||Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, MD, President, Brigham and Women’s Healthcare, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School|
|2015||Dr. Gaetano Thiene, Professor of Pathology, University of Padua Medical School|
|2016||Dr. Michael S. Brown, Regental Professor, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School|
|2017||Dr. Robert M. Wachter, Distinguished Professor, Chair of the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco|
|2018||Dr. Gail Morrison, William Maul Measey President’s Distinguished Professor in Medical Education, Special Advisor to the EVP/Dean, Executive Director Innovation Center for Online Medical Education|
|2019||Dr. Reed V. Tuckson, Managing Director of Tuckson Health Connections, LLC|
|2020||Dr. Katrina Armstrong, Chair of the Department of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief, Massachusetts General Hospital|