Bowie State University Announces Spring Commencement Speaker

By David Thompson

Kenneth C. Frazier, executive chairman of Merck & Co., Inc. board of directors, will deliver remarks to over 800 graduates at Bowie State’s Spring Commencement on Friday, May 26, at Bulldog Stadium.

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 PhRMA, Weill Cornell Medicine, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Catalyst, the National Constitution Center and Cornerstone Christian Academy in Philadelphia. Frazier is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Business Council, the American Bar Association and other organizations. 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.