Katie Couric, award-winning journalist and pioneering lawyer and fundraiser for cancer research and care, will deliver the keynote address at UMass Chan Medical School on June 4, 2023, as UMass Chan celebrates its 50th year of launch.
Tania Semaan, leader of a global investment company as well as co-founder and director of the Semaan Foundation, created by her late husband, Maroun Semaan, to provide philanthropic support in the fields of education, health and protection social; Luke O’Neill, PhD, Chair and Professor of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin and one of Ireland’s leading voices in public health; and Couric will receive honorary degrees as the achievements of the Class of 2023 are celebrated.
Katie Couric is an award-winning journalist who hosted NBC’s Today Show, was the first female solo host of the CBS Evening News and most recently founded Katie Couric Media. His memoirs of 2021, Gowas a New York Times No. 1 bestseller. In 2008, Couric co-founded Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), which has since raised over $746 million to advance innovative, promising and collaborative cancer research. SU2C-supported research has contributed to nine new FDA-approved treatments. Her influential public advocacy for cancer screening, care and research, however, began in the late 1990s after her husband Jay Monahan died of colon cancer at the age of 42, followed three years later by the death of his sister from pancreatic cancer. In 2000, Couric underwent a colonoscopy on TV, which inspired so many Americans to schedule screenings that doctors dubbed it the “Couric Effect.” In September, she revealed she was undergoing treatment after being diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.
Tania Issa Semaan is co-founder and director of the Semaan Foundation, after her late husband, Maroun Semaan, who created the foundation in 2011. She has been a trustee of the American University of Beirut since 2018 and a member of the advisory board of AMIDEAST/Lebanon, while also serving as Chairman of Blu Stone Management, Ltd., a global investment firm. Semaan is a champion of progress and prosperity in the Middle East and beyond. The Semaan Foundation contributes to educational and cultural enrichment throughout the world, based on the belief that knowledge and culture are the most precious ingredients for human emancipation. In 2017, the foundation endowed two professorships at UMass Chan that are named after Semaan’s beloved late husband. She graduated from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois and lives in Dubai with her three daughters.
Luke O’Neill, PhD, holds the Chair of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin. His current research aims to elucidate the molecular and cellular basis of microphage activation of the inflammatory response and its regulation in health and disease. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Dr O’Neill has served his homeland as a calm and clear champion of science for the people of Ireland, appearing frequently in print and broadcast media to explain the evolution and the impact of COVID-19. O’Neill is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society, was President of the International Cytokine Society, and in 2022 was listed in the top 1% of Thompson/Reuters scientists in immunology and molecular biology/genetics based on quotes. This year, he wrote two books: Keep Calm and Trust the Science: An Extraordinary Year in the Life of an Immunologist on the pandemic; and What Makes Us Human: A Scientist’s Guide to Our Incredible Existence for young readers.
The start of the 2023 school year will take place on the campus green in front of the Lazare Research Building, with more than 300 students from TH Chan School of Medicine, Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing and Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences expected to receive diplomas. Seating for guests will begin at 11 a.m. and the procession will begin at 11:45 a.m. The ceremony will begin at noon and can be viewed live on www.youtube.com/UMassChanMedicalSchool.