Judith Rodin, Ph.D., President of The Rockefeller Foundation and Former President of University of Pennsylvania, Keynote Speaker at 2009 Jefferson Commencement Exercises
PHILADELPHIA – Judith Rodin, Ph.D., president of The Rockefeller Foundation and former president of the University of Pennsylvania, will address the graduating classes at the 185th annual commencement exercises for Jefferson Medical College and Jefferson College of Graduate Studies. She will receive an honorary doctor of science degree during the Friday, May 29th ceremonies at 10:30 a.m., at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on South Broad Street in Philadelphia.
Dr. Rodin has been president of The Rockefeller Foundation since March 2005. During her first four years at The Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Rodin recalibrated the Foundation’s focus, working to ensure that more people can tap into the benefits of globalization while developing a stronger resilience to its risks. Under Dr. Rodin’s leadership, the Rockefeller Foundation has launched initiatives to mobilize an agricultural revolution in Africa, strengthen economic security for American workers, assure access to affordable, high-quality health systems in developing countries, and help vulnerable communities cope with the impacts of imminent climate change. She is the first woman to serve as the Foundation's president in its 96-year history.
"As a native of Philadelphia, it is an honor to come home to deliver the commencement address at Jefferson Medical College and College of Graduate Studies," said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. "As healthcare and health systems continue to change – both locally and globally – Jefferson's commitment to research and discovery has prepared its students to both accomplish their goals and tackle inevitable challenges as they set out on their new careers."
Dr. Judith Rodin will urge Thomas Jefferson graduates to consider both medical and global circumstances as they commence their professional lives. She will remind them that young health care providers and researchers will be on the front lines of efforts to confront common 21st century threats like animal to human disease transmission, bioterrorism, and potential pandemics. "The skeptics and cynics might tell you that given the world's current, harsh realities now is not the best time to begin your careers," Dr. Rodin is expected to say. "But it is at precisely this moment when you must defy those who would have you impose a moratorium on making a difference. This is not a time for retreat. This is a time for engagement."
As the first woman named to lead an Ivy League institution in 1994, Dr. Rodin presided over an unprecedented decade of growth and progress that transformed the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), its campus and community. Under her leadership, Penn doubled its research funding and tripled both its annual fundraising and the size of its endowment. It engineered a comprehensive, award-winning and internationally acclaimed neighborhood revitalization program in West Philadelphia. And the University climbed from 16th in the leading U.S. national rankings to fourth.
Trained at Columbia University as a research psychologist, Dr. Rodin helped to pioneer the behavioral medicine and health psychology movements. She was a member of Yale University's faculty for 22 years. During that time she taught, chaired the department of psychology, served as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and as the university's provost. Dr. Rodin has been awarded 16 honorary doctorate degrees and numerous additional honors including the Philadelphia Award, William Penn Award and the Pennsylvania Society's Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement. She has authored more than 200 academic articles and chapters and wrote or co-wrote 12 books, including her most recent, "The University & Urban Renewal: out of the Ivory Tower and Into the Streets."
Founded in 1824, Jefferson Medical College has awarded more than 27,000 medical degrees and has among the most living graduates of medical schools in the nation. Jefferson offers both traditional medical education programs and innovative joint degree programs to its enrollment of approximately 900 students each year.
The Jefferson College of Graduate Studies of Thomas Jefferson University established July 1, 1969, is responsible for the planning, operation and administration of educational programs of Thomas Jefferson University that lead to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. It is also responsible for stimulating, establishing and coordinating research and post-baccalaureate educational projects that cross traditional school boundaries. Each of the Ph.D. and M.S. degree programs is headed by a program director and most programs share faculty from several academic departments of the university.
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