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Pfizer Chairman, Chief Executive Officer Dr. Albert Bourla named as Penn Vet’s 2021 Commencement Speaker

By Hannah Kleckner Hall Published: Mar 12, 2021
Dr. Albert Bourla
Dr. Albert Bourla

Albert Bourla, DVM, PhD, will deliver the address at the 2021 University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) Commencement to be held virtually on Monday, May 17, 2021.

As its Chairman and CEO, Dr. Bourla leads Pfizer in its purpose: breakthroughs that change patients’ lives, with a focus on driving the scientific and commercial innovation needed to have a transformational impact on human health. This was most evident in Pfizer’s development of one of the first COVID vaccines, a critical tool in addressing the current global pandemic.

“Dr. Bourla encapsulates the unique and impactful role of veterinarians as practitioners of One Health on a global scale,” said Andrew M. Hoffman, DVM, DVSc, Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “His perspective is particularly germane to our graduates as they embark upon their careers in this noble profession, with the knowledge and sensibility to explore all options that lie ahead.”

Dr. Bourla began his Pfizer career in 1993 in the Animal Health Division as Technical Director of Greece. He held positions of increasing responsibility within Animal Health across Europe, before moving to Pfizer’s New York Global Headquarters in 2001. From there, Dr. Bourla went on to assume a succession of leadership roles within the Animal Health Division.

From 2014 to 2016, Dr. Bourla served as Group President of Pfizer’s Global Vaccines, Oncology, and Consumer Healthcare business, where he was instrumental in expanding the company’s leadership in Vaccines. From 2016 to 2017, he served as Group President of Pfizer Innovative Health, which comprised the Consumer Healthcare, Inflammation & Immunology, Internal Medicine, Oncology, Rare Disease, and Vaccines business groups.

Prior to taking the reins as CEO in January 2019, Dr. Bourla served as Pfizer’s Chief Operating Officer, responsible for overseeing the company’s commercial strategy, manufacturing, and global product development functions. In 2020, he was ranked as America’s top CEO in the Pharmaceuticals sector by Institutional Investor magazine.

In addition to his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Bourla holds a PhD in Biotechnology of Reproduction from the Veterinary School of Aristotle University.

Additional details regarding Penn Vet’s 2021 Commencement ceremonies will be shared directly with the Penn Vet community as they become available.

For more information about Dr. Bourla and his career, please visit


About Penn Vet

Ranked among the top ten veterinary schools worldwide, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is a global leader in veterinary education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the first veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, handling more than 34,600 patient visits a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. The hospital handles more than 6,200 patient visits a year, while our Field Services have gone out on more than 5,500 farm service calls, treating some 18,700 patients at local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.

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