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Upcoming Commencement Dates

  • June 9, 2019
  • June 14, 2020
  • June 13, 2021
  • June 12, 2022

Susan Desmond-Hellmann (Doctor of Science)

Susan Desmond-HellmannJune 9, 2013

SUSAN DESMOND-HELLMANN, you are a standout leader, visionary, and medical pioneer who serves as the ultimate example of how one person can drive progress to help solve the major challenges of our time.

After what The New York Times called "a stunningly successful career in the pharmaceutical industry," you became the first person outside academia and the first woman ever to serve as chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco, one of the nation's foremost biomedical research institutions.

An MD trained as an oncologist, you rose to become president of product development at Genentech Engineering Technology, where you helped create two of the first gene-targeted therapies for cancer. Later, you oversaw a National Academy of Sciences report advocating the groundbreaking construction of a knowledge network for biomedical research.

After leaving Genentech, you could have comfortably retired. But you wanted to continue making a difference in the world, and so you chose to bring your expertise and enthusiasm to UCSF, where you completed your own clinical training years before. The difference you have made there is immeasurable—for UCSF, the biotech industry, and the millions of patients whose lives have been changed or will someday be changed by the advancements you have made possible at the university.

In addition to your work in biotechnology and academia, you have served on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's Economic Advisory Council, and were recently named to the board of Facebook. Your many achievements have earned you global recognition, including a place in the Biotech Hall of Fame.

Susan, Forbes magazine has named you one of the world's seven most "powerful innovators" and hailed you as "a hero to legions of cancer patients." For your heroic contributions to medicine, biotechnology, and higher education, we are proud to award you with the honorary degree Doctor of Science.

President Carol L. Folt

Last Updated: 6/9/13