Doctor of Science

Stephen-\ Hoge

May 28, 2023

Listen to an audio recording of Hoge’s talk, below.

Stephen Hoge ’98, M.D., is the president of Moderna, Inc., a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company that rocketed to global prominence in 2020 for having pioneered a remarkably effective COVID-19 vaccine. At Moderna— which is currently running clinical trials for treatments of cardiac disease, cancer, and metabolic diseases, with autoimmune diseases on the horizon— he leads all scientific research and clinical development.

After graduating with a B.A. in neuroscience from Amherst College and earning his medical degree at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Hoge worked as an emergency room doctor in New York City. As stimulating as the work was, it felt rote, so in 2005 he left the practice of medicine to join the health care consulting practice at McKinsey & Co., where he became a partner in 2010.

President Elliott presents and honorary degree to Stephen Hoge
President Elliott presented an honorary Doctor of Science degree to Stephen Hoge ’98 during Commencement. (Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh)

When an opportunity came along to combine his entrepreneurial expertise with his scientific insight, he felt he had finally found his purpose. He took another bold leap to join Moderna, at that time a small biotech startup dedicated to one big idea: the then-novel concept of using messenger RNA science to create a new generation of transformative medicines and vaccines. Dr. Hoge joined Moderna as head of drug invention in 2012 and was named president in 2015.

In an interview for Amherst magazine, Dr. Hoge reflected that “growing up, I’d always thought science was cool. But I misunderstood something: I thought science was about things that were known. Amherst fixed that. It helped me understand that science is actually about how you approach the unknown, how you ask questions and use the answers. If you are doing it right, you are always staring into the unknown. For me, that brought a willingness to take on risk that I don’t think I would have had otherwise. My senior thesis in neuroscience was the first real experience I had with that, and it had a lasting effect.”


Stephen Hoge answering a students question at his talk in Johnson Chapel

Listen to Stephen Hoge’s talk, “No False Hope”

Audio file