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Scientific Trailblazers to Address Historic Graduating Class at TSRI

TSRI Graduate Program Marks 25th Commencement with Two Honorary Degree Recipients

In recognition of their career-long contributions to science and public health, renowned chemist Christopher Walsh and public health advocate Gerald Chan will receive honorary doctoral degrees from The Scripps Research Institute’s Graduate Program today. During the Institute’s 25th Commencement Ceremony, TSRI board members Walsh and Chan will join the graduates of the top 10-ranked program in celebrating academic achievement and individual contributions to scientific research.

“TSRI is privileged to honor two distinguished leaders in the fields of biomedical research and public health,” said TSRI President Peter G. Schultz. “The broad impact of Chris and Gerald’s achievements should serve as an inspiration to our graduating class as they embark on the next phase of their careers and apply their own learnings to advancing scientific discovery around the world.”

Chan is the co-founder of Morningside, a private equity and venture capital firm. His investments include support for infectious disease research, vaccines, antivirals, metabolic diseases, autoimmune diseases and rare orphan diseases.

Reflecting on the historic nature of this commencement, Chan will address the legacy of science in the United States. He will touch on the United States’ leadership in science following World War II, a tradition he hopes this era’s researchers can carry on with the support of government leaders. “If we care about science in America, we should care about the research institutions where some of the best science is done,” said Chan in a preview of his upcoming speech.

Walsh is a renowned chemist and academic leader who currently serves as a consulting professor to the Stanford University Department of Chemistry. He has been involved in a variety of venture-based biotechnology companies since 1981 and currently serves on several boards of directors, including the TSRI affiliate, the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr).

Reflecting on his own career in chemistry, Walsh will advise on the importance of intellectual curiosity. “You should use your talent to address and solve important problems, not just fill in the pages of defined projects,” said Walsh, previewing his remarks.

TSRI’s rigorous doctoral program, which takes an average of five years to complete, consists of a year of classwork and rotation through laboratories, customizable to each student’s interests and long-term goals, followed by work on individual research projects under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

U.S. News & World Report currently ranks TSRI’s graduate program as second in country in the specialty of biochemistry, sixth in the specialty of organic chemistry, seventh overall in chemistry and ninth overall in the biological sciences, based on a survey of department heads, deans, directors of graduate studies, and other academics in each discipline.

The 25th Commencement Ceremony will take place at TSRI’s Hazen Campus in La Jolla, CA, on Friday, May 19, 2017, at 10 AM.

Follow #TSRIgrad on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for live updates before and during Commencement—and use the hashtag to share your own photos or TSRI alumni memories.

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“TSRI is privileged to honor two distinguished leaders in the fields of biomedical research and public health.”

— Peter G. Schultz, Ph.D.,
President, TSRI