Leonard D. Schaeffer to Deliver 2019 USC School of Pharmacy Commencement Address

Business leader, policy expert and philanthropist Leonard D. Schaeffer will be the distinguished keynote speaker for the 112th USC School of Pharmacy Commencement on Friday, May 10 at 2 pm on Broad Lawn on the USC Health Sciences Campus.

In 2009, Schaeffer established the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics, one of the nation’s premier health policy centers, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year. As a partner in the USC Schaeffer Center along with the USC Price School of Public Policy, the USC School of Pharmacy is the only pharmacy school in the nation with an affiliated health policy center.

Schaeffer, a trustee of the University of Southern California since 2013, has long been committed to improving health policy and education nationwide. He has endowed multiple academic chairs in health policy at USC and other institutions. He also established the Schaeffer Fellows in Government Service program which supports undergraduates in summer government internships, including students at USC.  He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine where he chairs the Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness. Early in his career, Schaeffer served as the federal administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (now Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services) with responsibility for the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

“I am delighted that Leonard Schaeffer has agreed to serve as this year’s honored keynote speaker. He has a lifelong commitment to solving healthcare issues and transforming the healthcare system. His determination and foresight created the nation’s leading health benefits company and established one of the nation’s premier health policy centers at USC,” said Vassilios Papadopoulos, dean of the USC School of Pharmacy. “I very much look forward to welcoming this accomplished visionary to address the members of the graduating class of 2019 and our school community.”

Schaeffer, the Judge Robert Maclay Widney Chair and Professor at USC, is the founding Chair and Chief Executive Officer of WellPoint (now Anthem). He was recruited in 1986 to be CEO of WellPoint’s predecessor company, Blue Cross of California, when it was near bankruptcy. He managed the turnaround of Blue Cross and the IPO creating WellPoint.

During his tenure as CEO, WellPoint completed 17 acquisitions and endowed four charitable foundations with assets of more than $6 billion. Under his leadership, the value of the company grew from $11 million to more than $49 billion. WellPoint was selected by Fortune as America’s Most Admired Health Care Company for six consecutive years. Schaeffer was selected by BusinessWeek as one of the Top 25 Managers of the Year and by Worth as one of the “50 Best CEOs in America.”

The 136th USC Commencement will take place on Friday, May 10 at 8:30 am at Alumni Memorial Park, USC University Park Campus. The 112th USC School of Pharmacy Commencement begins at 2 pm at Broad Lawn, USC Health Sciences Campus. Learn more about USC’s 2019 commencement activities: https://commencement.usc.edu/