Former Johnson & Johnson chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky was awarded an honorary doctorate from Ramapo College for his influence in the health care landscape and the greater business community.
In addition to accepting the honor doctor of humane letters, Gorsky gave the keynote speech during the college’s May 18 graduate programs commencement ceremony at its Mahwah campus.
Gorsky – who retired from his leadership roles with the New Brunswick-based pharmaceutical giant earlier this year – told graduates, “Your Ramapo education, rooted in the liberal arts, has equipped you well for a world in which interdisciplinary critical thinking, international understanding, and intercultural awareness have grown essential to our personal, professional, and societal growth.”
Ramapo College President Cindy Jebb described Gorsky as “a leader who has modeled the importance of equity, innovation, and service throughout his career.”
She went on to say he “embodies the Ramapo College promise: to develop the empathetic problem solvers, ethical change agents, and responsible leaders our communities so desperately need.”
After completing his undergraduate education at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Gorsky served six years in the U.S. Army. He then went on to earn an MBA the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
His career with Johnson & Johnson began as a sales representative with Janssen Pharmaceutica in 1988. Over the next three decades, he advanced through positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing, and management, culminating in being named CEO and chairman in 2012
Gorsky is just one of eight people to have held the dual role of chairman of the board and CEO since the company was first listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1944, according to J&J.
In 2021, he stepped down from his roles, but served as an executive chairman during a transitional period. J&J veteran Joaquin Duato, who replaced Gorsky as CEO in 2022, officially took on the role of chairman earlier this year.