U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy to give Class Day address

Vice Admiral Murthy, the United States surgeon general and a prominent advocate for mental health and well-being, will be Yale’s 2024 Class Day speaker.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy

Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, the United States surgeon general and a prominent advocate for mental health and well-being, will be Yale’s 2024 Class Day speaker. Murthy, who earned his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Yale in 2003, is known in his current role as “the nation’s doctor.”

Class Day, held the day prior to university commencement exercises, celebrates the Yale College graduating class with a program of student performances, awards, and long-held traditions. This year’s ceremony — headlined by Murthy’s address — will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, on Old Campus. The event is open to the public, and information for those planning to attend can be found on the Yale Commencement website.

As a proud Yale alumnus, and as the spouse of an equally proud Yale College alum, it is truly an honor to join Yale’s graduates on Class Day this year,” Murthy said. “Class Day is a time to celebrate the relationships you’ve built, the knowledge you’ve gained, and the dreams you have shaped and forged. It’s also a moment to express our gratitude to all those who made this journey possible.

I hope this day will be full of joy, appreciation, and friendship for all our graduates.”

In March 2021, Murthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the 21st surgeon general of the United States. He previously served as the 19th surgeon general under President Barack Obama. As the nation’s top doctor, the surgeon general helps to advance the health and well-being of all Americans and works to address critical public health issues. Murthy has issued advisories on the youth mental health crisis and social media’s impact on youth mental health, the epidemic of loneliness and isolation, and burnout in the health worker community; he also is the creator of the Surgeon General’s “Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being,” a 30-page resource to help workplaces promote and support the mental health of all employees.

As vice admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, he oversees more than 6,000 dedicated public health officers serving underserved and vulnerable populations.

Murthy is the first U.S. surgeon general to host a podcast, “House Calls with Dr. Vivek Murthy,” in which he invites guests and listeners to explore how we can build more connected and meaningful lives. He is the author of “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World” (2020), a New York Times bestseller that shines a spotlight on the consequences of loneliness not just as an individual affliction, but as one of the great public health challenges of the modern era.

Whether helping President Biden to guide the nation through a pandemic or writing with eloquence on the power of community and connection, Dr. Murthy leads with humanity and a deep commitment to the greater good,” said Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis. “He sets a vibrant example for our graduates as they prepare to embark on their own paths of leadership and service.”

Raised in Miami, he received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard before completing his medical and business degrees at Yale. His prior Yale engagements include delivering the Samuel O. Thier Lecture in Healthcare Policy at the School of Medicine in 2022 and appearing as a guest on the School of Management’s Yale Insights podcast in 2023.

Class Day dates to the 19th century, when members of the Yale College graduating class gathered in a circle on Old Campus to share memories of their time at Yale. Today, the ceremony includes speeches and reflections by members of the class, as well as many longstanding Yale College traditions — notably the wearing of funny, often creatively home-made, hats.

Past Class Day speakers include former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ’73 J.D.; Broadway, film, and television songwriter Robert Lopez ’97; and acclaimed poet, educator, and philanthropic leader Elizabeth Alexander ’84.

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Part of the In Focus Collection: Celebrating Yale 2024