Cancer Research Pioneer to Address Graduates at Drexel College of Medicine Commencement

John H. Glick, MD, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, will deliver the keynote address to Drexel University College of Medicine’s class of 2023 during the college’s commencement on Friday, May 12 at 9 a.m. at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

Glick’s career included roles as the longest-serving director in the history of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center and ultimately vice president and associate dean for resource development at Penn Medicine.  Glick has helped raise $600 million for cancer research and care at Penn Medicine. Thanks to the generosity of Leonard and Madlyn Abramson, whom Glick met when Madlyn was his patient, 90 new faculty were recruited in less than a decade. 

With compassion and clinical insight, Glick’s efforts drove development of integrated cancer care at Penn Medicine. His clinical acumen led to establishment of the Penn Medicine Academy of Master Clinicians to promote excellence in all specialties across the institution.

Glick’s research significantly advanced standards of care for breast cancer and lymphomas, including work that pioneered integration of adjuvant chemotherapy and definitive breast radiotherapy for early-stage breast cancer. Glick also chaired the pivotal 1985 National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference on Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer as well as consecutive St. Galen International Consensus Panels for Treatment of Primary Breast Cancer.

In 2000, Glick was senior author of a landmark clinical study in the New England Journal of Medicine on the role of bone marrow transplant for advanced breast cancer; the findings of which transformed care for these patients. He also conducted groundbreaking phase III randomized trials in Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His preeminent research, continuously funded by National Institutes of Health from 1974 to 2006, has appeared in 165 peer-reviewed publications and 28 chapters and books.

Glick’s research and care for patients helped him become an exceptional professor and mentor over decades to medical students, residents and fellows -- three of whom became directors of National Cancer Institute NCI-designated cancer centers.

Glick’s career at Penn started in 1974, following fellowships at the NCI and Stanford University. He earned an A.B. from Princeton University and Doctor of Medicine degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

For his broad contributions to cancer care and quality of life for patients, Drexel will confer upon Glick the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.

This year’s graduates bring a wide-ranging skillset into residencies in 29 U.S. states, including nine graduates who will continue their clinical training at Tower Health.

During the ceremony, students will also hear remarks from College of Medicine Dean Charles B. Cairns, MD, University President John Fry, the conferring of degrees, and recite the World Medical Association Declaration of Geneva, during which graduates promise to dedicate their lives to maintain utmost respect for human life and practice good medicine with conscience and dignity.