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Sally Susman ’84, executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at Pfizer and author of Breaking Through: Communicating to Open Minds, Move Hearts, and Change the World, will deliver the keynote address at Connecticut College’s 105th Commencement on Sunday, May 21, 2023.
At Pfizer, Susman leads reputation management and directs the company’s communications, public affairs and philanthropic activities around the world. As vice chair of the Pfizer Foundation and one of the longest-serving members of the executive leadership team, she has shaped policy around patient advocacy and advanced the company’s efforts to improve global public health. Beyond Pfizer, she has served on numerous corporate and non-profit boards—including the Board of Trustees at Connecticut College—and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and co-chair of The International Rescue Committee, one of the largest humanitarian aid organizations in the world. In 2022, she was named by Forbes as one of the World’s Most Influential Chief Marketing Officers.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Susman graduated from Connecticut College with a B.A. in government and studied at the London School of Economics. During the Clinton Administration, she served on Capitol Hill first as a legislative assistant for the Senate Commerce Committee and then as deputy assistant secretary for Legislative Affairs. Before joining Pfizer in 2007, she held senior roles in communications and government relations at Estée Lauder and American Express.
Susman returns to Conn often to speak to students about government, corporate ethics, and gender in business and politics. Her visits are part of the Career Informed Learning (CIL) initiative in Connections, designed to help students communicate, present and deliver robust solutions to complex problems by bringing real-life challenges into the classroom.
During the Commencement ceremony, the College will present Susman with the degree of doctor of humane letters honoris causa, in recognition of her commitment to lifelong learning and her critical work in promoting science to fight health misinformation around the world.