Maria Thacker Goethe ’02 announced as the 2022 commencement speaker

Posted on March 24, 2022 by Abby May

Maria Thacker Goethe ’02

Sweet Briar College is thrilled to announce that Maria Thacker Goethe ’02, will address the Class of 2022 at the College’s commencement on May 14, 2022.

Maria is the president and CEO for Georgia Bio and the Georgia BioEd Institute, leaders among bioscience and medical technology associations. She is also the executive director of the Georgia Global Health Alliance, part of the Center for Global Health Innovation, which seeks to improve health outcomes through innovation and global collaboration.

Maria has a diverse background in environmental science, women’s health and health communications and marketing. After graduating from Sweet Briar with a degree in environmental studies, Maria earned a master’s in public health in health education and communication, and maternal and child health from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She has more than 15 years of experience in non-profit management and development and is passionate about the ways in which biotechnology and medical technology can benefit public health.

Prior to Georgia Bio, Maria participated in a fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in environmental investigations, working closely with the National Center of Environmental Health in Chemical Demilitarization.

Maria also serves as a board member on a number of foundations and associations and has volunteered for more than a decade with the Junior League of Atlanta La Amistad Estrellitas program, which helps empower Latina teens. In 2021 and 2022, she was named by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians,” and in 2019 was a recipient of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “40 Under 40” award.

“I asked Maria to be our commencement speaker because her work to improve the health of people around the globe, through building collaborative networks between the business sector, non-profits, academia and government epitomizes the kind of leadership women learn at Sweet Briar College,” says President Woo. “It’s a style of leadership in which women particularly excel; one that emphasizes communication, cooperation and innovation. It’s the leadership we need for the twenty-first century; one that makes a difference in people’s lives.”

President Woo explained to the members of the Class of 2022 in an email announcement, “as you prepare to graduate and make your own mark on the world, I think you will find Maria’s achievements to be a wonderful example of how Sweet Briar women are making the future brighter for everyone. I can’t think of a better speaker to inspire you as you commence your life beyond Sweet Briar.”