Physician Leading COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment to Speak at UToledo College of Medicine Commencement May 21

May 17, 2021 | Events, News, UToday, Alumni, Medicine and Life Sciences
By Tyrel Linkhorn

Dr. Matthew Hepburn, a highly regarded infectious disease physician and retired U.S. Army colonel who played a leading role in the U.S. government’s moonshot effort to rapidly develop COVID-19 vaccines, will deliver the commencement address at The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences graduation ceremony on Friday, May 21.

A total of 222 degrees will be awarded to 220 graduates: 166 doctor of medicine degrees, five doctor of philosophy degrees and 51 master’s degrees.


The College of Medicine and Life Sciences is returning to an in-person ceremony this year, which begins at 3 p.m. in Savage Arena. Tickets are required as part of the University’s COVID-19 safety protocols to limit guests at in-person graduation events.

Hepburn’s 23-year active duty career included posts as director of medical preparedness on the White House national security staff, clinical research director at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute and serving as chief medical officer of a trauma hospital in Iraq.

After retiring from active duty, Hepburn was named vaccine lead for what was then known as Operation Warp Speed in May 2020. Operation Warp Speed, a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense, has since been renamed the Countermeasures Acceleration Group.

“We are thrilled to host Dr. Hepburn at our commencement ceremony,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “This terrible pandemic has killed too many Americans and has challenged all of us, and it has also shown our nation’s ingenuity and resilience. Dr. Hepburn is emblematic of that and is an inspiration to our graduates about the differences they can make in their own careers.”

In addition to delivering the keynote address, Hepburn will be awarded an honorary doctor of science degree.

Hepburn was selected by a committee of medical students and faculty from a national pool in recognition of his extraordinary accomplishments.

The College of Medicine and Life Sciences will livestream the ceremony, including Hepburn’s address, on its website.

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