Stephen Tang

Stephen S. Tang ’85G ’88 Ph.D. ’22P to Deliver Remarks at Lehigh’s Graduate Commencement and Doctoral Hooding Ceremony

Tang is the principal at Tangent2Cogent, board chairman of NowDiagnostics Inc., and former chairman, president and CEO of Orasure Technologies, a global medical diagnostics company.

Stephen S. Tang ’85G ’88 Ph.D. ’22P will address Lehigh University’s Graduate Commencement and Doctoral Hooding Ceremony graduates on Saturday, May 18. A veteran leader in the life sciences industry, author and corporate advisor, Tang is also a philanthropist who serves on several nonprofit boards.

“I am thrilled to deliver remarks to Lehigh’s masters and doctoral students,” said Tang. “As a Lehigh engineering graduate alum and professional whose career flourished while remaining deeply connected to the university community, I look forward to addressing graduates and their guests during this milestone occasion and celebration.”

“I am delighted that Steve will address our graduate and doctoral students,” said Lehigh President Joseph J. Helble ’82. “He has a rich history of involvement with Lehigh, and sharing the wisdom gained throughout his successful career as a leader of science and technology organizations will be of great value to our graduates.”

Tang has been a top company executive, board chairman and thought leader. He has guided organizations for over 30 years and is a respected leader and public speaker on business leadership, public policy, public health, innovation and entrepreneurship. In his current role as principal at Tangent2Cogent LLC, he serves as a corporate advisor, speaker, author and blogger.

A Distinguished Career in the Life Sciences Industry

Tang is a veteran in the life sciences industry and has held key leadership positions at several companies in the industry, most notably as chairman, president and CEO of Orasure Technologies, Inc. The Bethlehem-based company is a global leader in rapid at-home tests for infectious diseases such as HIV and COVID-19, specimen collection devices, and medical services designed to diagnose health, wellness and diseases. Tang led the company from 2018 to 2022, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced people across the globe to isolate and practice social distancing. During the pandemic, Orasure developed InteliSwab, a critical at-home COVID-19 testing kit that helped curb the spread of the virus. Under Tang’s leadership, the company experienced record revenue growth and its largest-ever expansion of products, services, facilities and employees.

“My time at Orasure underscored the importance of trustworthy and compassionate leadership before and during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tang said. “I’m proud that the company played a pivotal role in developing easy-to-use at-home COVID test kits that helped to slow the spread of the virus and bring the pandemic to an end.”

Tang’s tenure with Orasure began in 2011 when he was elected to its board of directors. He was chairman of the company’s board of directors from 2016 to 2018 before being appointed president and CEO.

Before his time at Orasure, Tang served a decade as president and CEO of the University City Science Center, the nation’s first and largest urban research park, in Philadelphia. Tang initiated, led and implemented a strategic plan designed to transform the Science Center into a hub of innovation and a forerunner in workforce development. From 2005-2008, he was a senior executive with Olympus America, where he oversaw the company’s life sciences group of businesses. Before that, he was an energy technology entrepreneur and a senior executive at two leading global management consulting firms.

NOWDiagnostics Inc., a developer of over-the-counter and point-of-care medical diagnostic tests, recently announced the appointment of Tang as chairman of its board of directors. He also serves on the boards of Lehigh University, the William and Mary Foundation, Population Services International, Team Pennsylvania Foundation and Life Sciences Pennsylvania.

Tang also served as board chair of the Committee of Seventy, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving Pennsylvania government functions, focusing on the Philadelphia region. He was the first person of color to hold that position in the organization’s 111-year history. He co-chaired the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In partnership with former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, he co-chaired the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, which encourages government and private sector collaboration.

Leading with Compassion and Trust

Tang’s new book, "A Test for Our Time: Crisis Leadership for the Next Normal," recounts OraSure's spinout from Lehigh University and subsequent growth; the company was a client of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, an incubator that propels companies through tech-based growth. Tang’s book also details Orasure’s key role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic. It was listed as a top new release on Amazon in 2023.

Said Tang, "A key learning from the pandemic is that people can do the extraordinary under duress when cherished and energized. My book’s anthem, 'Lead whole people wholeheartedly!' is a call to action for leaders to value, nurture and inspire the unique individuals who drive progress. By embracing this approach, we can create more resilient, adaptable and successful organizations in the ‘next normal’ and beyond."

Tang has been honored with many awards for his leadership, including Lehigh University’s Outstanding Entrepreneur Award in 2022. In 2021, he was included in Lehigh Valley Business’s Healthcare Power 30 list and City & State Pennsylvania’s Power 100 list. The National Museum of Industrial History awarded him the 2021 Spirit of Innovation Award on behalf of Orasure, and Philadelphia Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential Philadelphians.

Tang holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in chemical engineering from Lehigh University, an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.S. in chemistry from the College of William and Mary. He was also awarded a Doctorate of Human Letters (honoris causa) from Philadelphia University, now known as Thomas Jefferson University.

Visit the Commencement website for more information on Commencement programming and updates.

The 2024 schedule is as follows:

Graduate Commencement and Doctoral Hooding Ceremony
Recognizing master’s and doctoral candidates
Saturday, May 18
10 a.m. at Goodman Stadium

Baccalaureate
Saturday, May 18
4 p.m. at Packer Memorial Church

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony
Sunday, May 19
10 a.m. at Goodman Stadium

Related Stories

Baccalaureate speaker

Baccalaureate Speaker Rachel Laser of Americans United to Graduates: ‘Be Authentically Yourself’

Class of 2024 graduating seniors celebrate Baccalaureate Saturday by sharing their faith and reflecting on their time at Lehigh.

Rachel Laser

Social Justice Advocate Rachel Laser Named 2024 Baccalaureate Speaker

A major university event, Baccalaureate will be held at 4 p.m. on May 18 in Packer Memorial Chapel.

Scott Willoughby

Northrop Grumman’s Scott Willoughby ’89 to Address Graduates at Lehigh’s 156th Undergraduate Commencement

Willoughby is senior vice president of performance excellence at Northrop Grumman's space systems sector and former vice president and program manager for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope program at Northrop Grumman.