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Commencement 2023

Pitt’s 2023 honorary degree recipients

  • University News
  • Commencement 2023

The University of Pittsburgh will award honorary degrees to Chris Elias and Victor Dzau for their outstanding contributions to scientific research, public service and humanitarianism at two graduate school commencement ceremonies this spring. Commencement speaker Katy Nesbitt will also receive an honorary degree at the undergraduate ceremony on April 30.

Learn more about Dzau and Elias ahead of the events:

Victor Dzau, president of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, will receive an honorary Doctorate in Health Innovation. He is recognized for his seminal research in cardiovascular medicine and genetics and his worldwide contributions to addressing health disparities. Dzau, a world-renowned thought leader in academic medicine and public health, has worked tirelessly to engage with the global response to COVID-19 by providing leadership as a member of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, co-convened by the World Health Organization and the World Bank. He is the first person of color and the first immigrant to lead any of the three academies that comprise the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Dzau will receive his honorary degree at the School of Medicine's May 21 ceremony.

[Get all the details about Pitt’s graduate school commencement ceremonies]

Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Division at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will receive an honorary Doctorate in Global Health. Elias leads the foundation’s work to develop and implement innovative, integrated strategies that enable people in developing countries to overcome hunger, poverty and disease. He is renowned for his leadership in polio eradication and currently chairs the oversight board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Before joining the Gates Foundation, he served 11 years as president and chief executive officer of PATH, an international public health nonprofit organization. Under his leadership, PATH was awarded the prestigious Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2009 for “bringing new ideas and technologies to the toughest global health problems.” He will receive his honorary degree at the School of Public Health ceremony on April 29.


This story has been updated to clarify at which ceremonies the degrees will be awarded.