Edinboro to welcome Dr. Rachel Levine as spring commencement speaker

Pa. Physician General, also to receive honorary doctorate

EDINBORO, Pa. – Dr. Rachel Levine, Physician General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, will deliver the commencement address at Edinboro University's undergraduate ceremony on Saturday, May 13.

The highest-ranking transgender official in Pennsylvania, Levine also serves as Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. In her role with the Commonwealth, her primary focus is the opioid epidemic, which has reached crisis level in Pennsylvania. She also has helped to shape policy regarding childhood lead testing, the Zika virus, immunizations, and HIV and AIDS.

In addition to addressing the EU Class of 2017, Levine will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service during the ceremony.

"I am honored to speak and receive an honorary degree at the 2017 Commencement of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania," Levine said. "This University espouses the spirit of a great tradition in education as well as transformation to a dynamic future."

Dr. H. Fred Walker, president of Edinboro University, praised Levine's accomplishments as a physician and public servant, and for achieving prominent levels of success.

"Dr. Levine has built a life based on giving back and nurturing individuals of all ages," he said.  "At Edinboro University, we value Dr. Levine's commitment to recognizing and honoring diversity through her professional advocacy work."

A lifelong advocate of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, Dr. Levine served as the liaison for LGBT individuals with the Office of Diversity at the Penn State College of Medicine, where she established an LGBT faculty and staff affinity group.

"In addition to her many leadership efforts in medicine for all Pennsylvanians, it is historic to have one of the few transgender public officials in the nation on our campus," said Dr. Daniel Burdick, Edinboro University music professor and co-founder of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education LGBTQIA Consortium. "Edinboro University has been a statewide leader in providing equal access to education for our LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual) students, faculty and staff."

Levine's visit and recognition aligns with Edinboro University's strength in academic fields related to social and mental health services. Edinboro's expertise in social and mental health fields has garnered strong enrollments and placements in national rankings along with validations through accreditation recognitions.

"I ask every graduate to use the excellent education that they have received at Edinboro to work towards the common good," Levine said. "With hard work and intense focus, the class of 2017 will help usher in a brighter future for our country and the world." 

Levine graduated from Harvard College in 1979 and the Tulane University School of Medicine in 1983. At Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City, she completed her pediatrics training in 1987 and a Fellowship in Adolescent Medicine from 1987-1988. She also served as a faculty member at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

She is the former vice-chairperson for Clinical Affairs for the Department of Pediatrics and the chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and Eating Disorders at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital – Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

"Dr. Levine's interaction with our students during her visit will provide an invaluable role model who demonstrates that being your true self can lead to a healthy life, a happy family and a successful career," Burdick said. "She is a pioneer that our students can emulate as they move forward with their careers and lives."

The spring 2017 undergraduate commencement ceremony at Edinboro University is scheduled for Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m. The University's graduate student commencement ceremony will follow at 2 p.m. at Louis C. Cole Auditorium – Memorial Hall.

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