Otis W. Brawley, SB’81, MD’85, to deliver Class Day address during Convocation

Distinguished cancer researcher to address graduating students during June 12 celebration

Distinguished cancer researcher Otis W. Brawley, SB’81, MD’85, has been named the invited speaker for the University of Chicago’s June 12 Class Day celebration—an annual event on Convocation weekend that celebrates graduating students and their accomplishments.

Brawley’s research focuses on how to close racial, economic and social inequalities in the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. The Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Oncology and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, he was previously the chief medical and scientific officer of the American Cancer Society, where he oversaw the largest private program funding cancer research in the United States.

“I am honored to address and celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2020,” Brawley said. “The University of Chicago’s emphasis of rigorous thought and analysis have served me well as a scholar, physician and individual. I look forward to discussing the value of curiosity and wonder as the 2020 graduates prepare to make a meaningful impact in the world.”

In 2019, Brawley was awarded the University of Chicago Alumni Professional Achievement Award for outstanding accomplishments in his field. Brawley has strong ties to the University of Chicago, having earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the undergraduate College and an MD degree from the Pritzker School of Medicine.

“Dr. Brawley’s accomplishments in the field of cancer research and treatment speak to the profound applications of a liberal arts education, and to the ambitions of the graduates of the College to improve life for others,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College. “We are delighted to welcome him back to campus to celebrate the Class of 2020.”  

The Class Day celebration began in 2017 and has previously featured Rebecca Jarvis, an Emmy-winning journalist and podcast host; Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Obama; and David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times. This year’s event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on the Main Quadrangles. It also will feature remarks by students from the Class of 2020 and the presentation of College awards. Friends and family of graduating students, as well as the UChicago community, are invited to attend.