University News

CEO's Jon Clifton and Thomas Lines to Speak During Commencement Weekend

Published: April 12, 2023 | Categories: All News
Commencement graduates selfie

Jon Clifton, CEO of Gallup, the global analytics and advice firm, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address. Thomas Lines, founder and CEO of Quercis Pharma, will deliver the graduate commencement address. Both will receive honorary degrees from Western New England University (WNE).

"These exceptional individuals have made valuable and long-lasting contributions to society and the betterment of others through their unwavering dedication, intelligence, and passion," President Robert E. Johnson said. "They symbolize the highest aspirations and principles of WNE and have been at the forefront of life-altering research."

As CEO of Gallup, Jon Clifton's mission is to help organizations create thriving workplaces; put one billion people in touch with their strengths; and help eight billion citizens be heard on their most pressing issues through the Gallup World Poll, a 100-year initiative spanning over 150 countries.

Clifton has been with Gallup since 2008. He previously served as Global Managing Partner of the company's worldwide consulting group–advising global leaders on how their organizations and countries can thrive using behavioral economics and analytics-based insights.

In his 2022 Wall Street Journal bestseller, "Blind Spot: The Global Rise of Unhappiness and How Leaders Missed It," Clifton makes the urgent case that leaders should measure and quantify wellbeing and happiness, and discusses the five key elements of a great life and where the world needs to improve in each of them to better the lives of people everywhere.

Clifton serves on the boards of directors for Gallup and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy. He has also served on the boards of Meridian International, Streetwise Partners and the International Business Advisory Board at the University of Nebraska. He received a bachelor's degree in political science and history from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor in international law from the University of Nebraska. He is a nonresident senior fellow at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion and was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Midland University.

Thomas Lines is an entrepreneur, scientist, inventor, founder, and CEO of Quercis Pharma AG and its predecessor company, Quercegen Pharmaceuticals. A private, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company based in Zug, Switzerland, Quercis Pharma AG leverages its novel antithrombotic platform to deliver innovative, safe, and broadly accessible treatments to patients with potentially life-threatening conditions, such as cancer, sickle cell disease, Ebola, and COVID-19. In 2022, the company was named a "Top Ten Biotech Startup in Europe" by Life Sciences Review.

Lines has been the driving force behind the successful development of Quercis' drug development program, which is working on broadly affordable new drugs for thrombosis and cancer. He is the world's leading expert on naturally occurring small molecules as disease prevention agents with a specific emphasis on flavonoids, and has authored a number of scientific publications.

In 2021, Quercis signed a worldwide license agreement with Western New England University for the exclusive rights to develop and market its drug Zafirlukast in a variety of medical indications, including COVID-19 and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Previously, Lines managed Quercegen Pharma's collaborations with large multinationals such as the Coca Cola Company, Merck, Novartis, and GSK, as well as the United States Government Department of Defense.

Lines is regularly invited to Global Public Health Initiative meetings and has collaborated with other key players to address shortages and reduce the cost of malaria medication.

Since 2010, his family companies have managed an experimental agricultural program to improve sustainable crop growth in developing countries.

Members of the Class of 2023 will go on to a broad range of careers and to graduate or professional schools to study law, education, finance, medicine, environmental research and advocacy, entrepreneurship, nonprofit leadership, and much more.

The undergraduate commencement ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 20 beginning at 2 p.m. in the Anthony S. Caprio Alumni Healthful Living Center.

The graduate ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 21 and begin at 2 p.m. in the Anthony S. Caprio Alumni Healthful Living Center.