Omar Hamade ’19 Named Schwarzman Scholar
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 7, 2020 — Santa Clara University alumnus Omar Hamade ’19 has been named one of 154 Schwarzman Scholars, a prestigious program sometimes referred to as the “Chinese Rhodes.” Hamade, Santa Clara’s second Schwarzman winner, will pursue a one-year master's degree and leadership program at Tsinghua University in Beijing starting next year.
Hamade graduated summa cum laude from SCU in only three years with a degree in biology, and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa honors society as a junior, an honor achieved by only 10 percent of nominees. He currently works at Genentech, where he provides financial oversight and strategic analysis to increase access of Roche’s medicines to more than 120 million patients worldwide.
“I am incredibly honored to be selected as part of the Schwarzman Scholars’ sixth cohort,” says Hamade, who hopes to learn from China’s “Healthy China 2030” strategy and investigate how the U.S. and China can be partners in global health efforts. “The Schwarzman program is an exciting opportunity to gain an intimate understanding of China and its role in the world, engage with global leaders on the most pressing challenges of our generation, and most importantly, be surrounded by fellow Scholars from a range of backgrounds and experiences, all of whom have the potential to shape the future,” Hamade says.
Born to Syrian and Palestinian refugee immigrant parents, Hamade grew up in Santa Clara. Transforming healthcare for the underprivileged has been a long-time driving passion, and as a junior at SCU, he co-founded a community health clinic in San Jose that garnered $200,000 in grants to support 20 doctors. As a teenager, he was inspired after a visit to his family’s former home in Lebanon to launch a public health study that aimed to evaluate cancer awareness and barriers to medical treatment among Syrian refugees and Lebanese citizens. Hamade and his academic partners have co-authored an article on their work in the peer-reviewed Journal of Cancer Education. They are currently working on an international cancer awareness program to increase diagnostic and treatment rates across the Middle East and North Africa region.
At SCU, Hamade was known as an exceptionally bright and insightful student, a “big picture thinker,” and a natural leader.
“A lot of people can say ‘this is what I want to do,’” said SCU biology Professor Brian Bayless, who taught Hamade cell biology in his final year at SCU. “Omar would say, ‘here’s what I want to do, and here’s how I’m going to do it.’.. He is going to do really, really great things.”
While studying at SCU, Hamade interned at Stanford University School of Medicine where he developed a microfluidic sorting device to isolate healthy sperm. He later interned at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals where he facilitated the development of a project and portfolio-management platform. As a sophomore at Santa Clara, he started a free science and math tutoring program for more than 200 low-income middle schoolers.
“Omar is a brilliant scholar and an exemplary and natural leader who is driven by compassion to lift up neglected and disadvantaged populations by his passion for justice and holistic equity,” wrote SCU Office of Fellowships Director Naomi Levy and English lecturer Stephen Carroll in a recent recommendation letter. “His record and his references all agree that he will be a game-changer in the field of healthcare, with his uncanny ability to locate the most promising new technologies and opportunities in genomic medicine and his talent for creatively integrating those breakthroughs into equitable and inclusive healthcare ecosystems that serve more people better at lower costs for all.”
This year’s class of 154 Schwarzman Scholars was selected from more than 3,600 applicants. The 2021-2022 class comprises students from 39 countries and 99 universities, with 42 percent from the United States, 16 percent from China, and 42 percent from the rest of the world. All of the scholars’ expenses are fully funded by the program.
In 2016, Jesse Caemmerer ’14 was chosen for the first cohort of Schwarzman Scholars.
About Schwarzman Scholars
The vision of Schwarzman Scholars is to bring together the world’s best young minds to explore and understand the economic, political and cultural factors that have contributed to China’s increasing importance as a global power, and train them to become effective links between China and the rest of the world. Through the philanthropy, foresight, and dedication of Blackstone co-founder, Chairman and CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman, as well as the generosity of global donors who have been inspired by the potential and importance of this program, Schwarzman Scholars has raised more than $500 million to date. These funds will help endow Schwarzman Scholars in perpetuity. Each year, up to 200 future leaders from the U.S., China and the rest of the world matriculate as Schwarzman Scholars at Tsinghua University in Beijing to pursue a one-year master’s degree. Scholars chosen for this highly selective program have demonstrated exemplary leadership qualities and the potential to understand and bridge cultural and political differences. They live in Beijing for a year of intensive study and cultural immersion – attending lectures, workshops, and discussion groups; being mentored and advised by leaders across sectors; and traveling while developing a better understanding of China. Learn more at www.schwarzmanscholars.org.
About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Ranked among the top 15 percent of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see www.scu.edu.
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | firstname.lastname@example.org | 408-554-5121