CORVALLIS, Ore. – Dr. Charity Dean, who helped guide the state of California’s strategic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and an Oregon State University alumnus, will deliver the commencement address at the university’s 154th graduation ceremony.

The ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. June 17 at Reser Stadium on the Corvallis campus.

“We are honored that Dr. Dean will give OSU’s 2023 commencement address,” said Jayathi Murthy, Oregon State’s president. “She is passionate about public service and has dedicated her life’s work to public health. These are attributes that will inspire and motivate graduates as they begin their lives beyond OSU.”

Dean is the CEO and founder of The Public Health Company, which seeks to protect communities and businesses from infectious disease.

Prior to joining the firm, Dean served as the assistant director of the California Department of Public Health and part of the executive leadership team helping guide California’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She served as co-chair of the California Testing Task Force, which executed a strategy to rapidly scale up COVID-19 testing. In that position, she also provided strategic direction and oversight for the Center for Health Care Quality and led public health and health care policy development and implementation for Californians.

Her work and leadership during the pandemic features prominently in Michael Lewis’ latest book “The Premonition: A Pandemic Story,” which confronts the federal government’s response to the spread and impact of COVID-19.

Before joining the California Department of Public Health, Dean served as the public health officer for Santa Barbara County, where she directed communicable disease outbreak response, public health disaster response and served as an attending physician, overseeing the county tuberculosis clinic, HIV medicine, homeless medicine and primary care.

Dean simultaneously earned a doctorate of medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine and a master of public health and tropical medicine degree from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2005. She graduated cum laude from Oregon State University’s Honors College in 2000, earning a bachelor’s degree in microbiology with minors in chemistry and French.

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 35,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, [email protected]


Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, [email protected]


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