BOWIE, Md. – Kenneth C. Frazier, former president and chief executive officer of Merck & Co., Inc., will deliver remarks to more than 800 graduates at Bowie State University’s Spring Commencement on Friday, May 26, 2023, at Bulldogs Stadium.
In his retirement from Merck, Frazier has dedicated himself to organizations leading social change and building greater equity for all people.
He is the co-founder and co-chair of OneTen, a coalition of leading organizations committed to upskilling, hiring and promoting one million Black Americans into family-sustaining jobs.
In addition, Frazier is chairman of health assurance initiatives, at the venture capital firm, General Catalyst, where he advises on investments and partnerships for companies that are well-positioned to help transform the healthcare industry through collaborative and responsible innovation.
Frazier joined Merck in 1992 and held various positions of increasing responsibility including general counsel before becoming president and CEO of the pharmaceutical giant in 2011, the first African American to head a major pharmaceutical company. He held the position for 10 years until he retired in 2021 to lead the board. Under his leadership, Merck increased its focus on research and introduced life-saving vaccines and medicines.
Frazier serves on the board of directors of Weill Cornell Medicine, Eikon Therapeutics, the National Constitution Center, Paradigm and Cornerstone Christian Academy in Philadelphia. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Council of American Law Institute, the American Bar Association, and a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Additionally, Frazier is co-chair of the Legal Services Corporation’s Leaders Council.
He has received numerous awards including the Anti-Defamation League Courage Against Hate Award, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund National Equal Justice Award and the Harvard Law School Association Award.
In 2018, Fortune magazine named Frazier as one of the World’s Greatest Leaders. He was one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2018 and again in 2021.
Frazier earned his bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.