Pharris selected as commencement speaker

Alumnus Matt Pharris has been selected as the commencement speaker for Purdue University’s August 2019 graduation ceremony for all majors. Commencement speakers are chosen in part for their ability to make their story personal, but connect universally with all graduates. In his speech, Pharris will reflect upon his nine years at Purdue, time spent obtaining multiple degrees, racking up high honors, and learning some valuable life lessons along the way.
Matt Pharris (BS BME '14, PhD '19) is the August 2019 Purdue University Commencement Speaker.

“Because I completed my BS and PhD at Purdue, I'll be speaking about both the undergraduate and graduate student experiences,” said Pharris, who is now a postdoctoral researcher at AstraZeneca. “I'll reflect on how these experiences overlapped, namely through graduate student mentorship of undergraduate researchers, graduate teaching assistantships, and the like. This overlap brings together two seemingly distinct groups of students, allowing them to share their knowledge, world views, and values.”

Themes of hard work, loyalty, and service to the community will be reflected in Pharris’ speech, as they were during his student days at Purdue.

Pharris obtained his BS and PhD from the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering in 2014 and 2019, respectively. He conducted research in computational neuroscience, investigating protein signaling in the learning and memory-forming regions of the brain with the goal of improving diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of neurogenerative disorders. He also emerged as an outstanding graduate student teacher, this year receiving the Graduate School Excellence in Teaching Award, the University’s highest honor in recognition of graduate student teachers.  

Summer commencement will take place on Saturday, August 3, at 9:30 a.m. at Elliott Hall of Music.