One of the world’s foremost engineer-physician-scientists will deliver the convocation address for Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s inaugural class. Carle Illinois has invited Cato Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. — a distinguished professor and past dean at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine — to address its first class of graduates as they embark on their careers as physician-innovators.

Dr. Laurencin is an orthopedic surgeon, award-winning engineer, innovator, and educator who has been recognized for his commitment to promoting social justice and addressing health disparities. At the University of Connecticut (UConn), Dr. Laurencin is a professor of multiple disciplines, including University Professor and Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

Known as an innovator in the field of medicine, Dr. Laurencin is a founder of the field of regenerative engineering and is an internationally renowned expert in biomaterials science, stem cell technology, and nanotechnology. He has founded three regenerative engineering companies, holds some 70 patents, and has published more than 800 scholarly papers. He also serves as Chief Executive Officer of The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering and Director of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences at UConn.

“We know our first graduates will be inspired by Dr. Laurencin’s words, professional experiences, and insights. He is a global and compassionate leader who is transforming the field of orthopedics at the intersection of engineering, science, and medicine,” said Stephen Boppart, Carle Illinois Executive Associate Dean and Chief Diversity Officer. “His career reflects the mission and vision that underpin all we do at Carle Illinois College of Medicine, and we are excited to welcome him to our campus.” Carle Illinois is the first engineering-based college of medicine, created in 2015 to educate a new generation of physician innovators who are uniquely prepared to transform the practice of medicine.

In parallel with his medical and scientific work, Dr. Laurencin has been recognized for his efforts to advance social justice and health care equity. He co-founded the W. Montague Cobb/National Medical Association (NMA) Health Institute (The Cobb Institute), a non-profit organization functioning as a national consortium of scholars that engages in innovative research and knowledge dissemination for the reduction and elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities and racism in medicine.

In 2021, Dr. Laurencin received the prestigious Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest honor, recognizing his accomplishments in tissue regeneration, biomaterials science, nanotechnology, and regenerative engineering. He was also the only U.S. professor elected as an International Fellow of the United Kingdom’s Royal Academy of Engineering in 2021. He is the recipient of three presidential awards, including the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, America’s highest honor for technological achievement, awarded in 2016 by President Barack Obama.

Dr. Laurencin holds an M.D. degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Carle Illinois’ Inaugural Class Convocation Ceremony will be held on May 15 and will be streamed live here. Carle Illinois’ 23 newly minted medical doctors will enter residency in July.