Siddhartha Mukherjee to deliver UPenn’s commencement speech

Mukherjee will be honored with an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree by the university

Siddhartha Mukherjee / Image - University of Pennsylvania

Physician, researcher, and best-selling author Siddhartha Mukherjee has been selected as the keynote speaker for the 2024 University of Pennsylvania Commencement, scheduled to take place on Monday, May 20, at Franklin Field.

“I am delighted that Siddhartha Mukherjee has accepted our invitation to address the Class of 2024 at Commencement,” said Penn interim president J. Larry Jameson. “Dr. Mukherjee is a brilliant oncologist and researcher who has provided an invaluable service to the world by conveying the history and complexity of important medical subjects through his acclaimed writings. It will be a day to remember as he shares his passion and wisdom with our graduates and their families.”

Mukherjee holds the position of associate professor of medicine at Columbia University and serves as an oncologist at the university’s medical center. He gained widespread recognition as the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ‘The Emperor of All Maladies’ (2011), a seminal work in the field of oncology.

‘The Emperor of All Maladies’ earned a place among Time magazine’s list of the 100 best nonfiction books of the past century, highlighting its profound impact and relevance. His subsequent books, ‘The Gene: An Intimate History’ (2016) and ‘The Song of the Cell’ (2022), form a trilogy that has significantly influenced public conversations surrounding human health, medicine, and science.

Additionally, both "The Emperor of All Maladies" and "The Gene" were adapted into PBS documentaries by acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns, further extending their influence and reach to broader audiences.

As a trailblazing medical researcher, Mukherjee has led groundbreaking studies exploring the composition and behavior of cancer cells. His research has also paved the way for novel treatments that transcend traditional pharmaceutical approaches, delving into the realm of biological and cellular therapies.

Mukherjee's contributions extend beyond his books; he is a writer for publications like The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. His work have also been featured in journals like Nature, Cell, and The New England Journal of Medicine.

His scientific achievements have garnered him numerous awards and accolades. At the Commencement ceremony, Mukherjee will be honored with an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree.