The following excerpt is from a story that originally ran in the spring 2022 issue of the W&M Alumni Magazine. Read the full story and see more images on the magazine’s website. – Ed.
For many, the term “Renaissance man” conjures up images of historical figures performing scientific experiments in the morning, playing violin in the afternoon and debating philosophy in the evening.
In a more modern sense, the term brings to mind a well-rounded person, an individual who embraces the values of the liberal arts and embodies authenticity, curiosity and dedication both to others and to their daily pursuits.
To those who know him, Stephen S. Tang ’82 instantly springs to mind when you say “Renaissance man.” Passionate about education, a leader, an entrepreneur, scientist, musician, athlete, devoted friend and colleague and an enthusiastic public servant, Tang’s natural humility and careful championship of others are matched only by his professional achievements.
Tang was most recently the president and CEO of OraSure Technologies, Inc., from 2018 to March 2022. OraSure is a leading biotechnical firm in the development, manufacture and distribution of rapid diagnostic tests, sample collection and stabilization devices and molecular services solutions designed to discover and detect critical medical conditions.
One of the most recognizable devices that OraSure has developed is the sample collection device used in the at-home testing kits for 23andMe Inc., used to help people discover their ancestry, genetic dispositions to certain diseases and other genetic traits.
OraSure also developed one of the first over-the-counter, at-home rapid tests for HIV, called OraQuick, in 2004. During the COVID-19 pandemic, and under Tang’s leadership, the company expanded its team and developed an at-home rapid test for the coronavirus.
“The driving force for OraSure is putting the power of knowledge into the hands of people,” Tang says.
The company also manufactures other rapid tests, including for hepatitis C, Ebola and influenza, to name a few.
“I took the reins of the company in 2018 not knowing we were going to have a pandemic,” Tang says. “I knew we were going to have to pivot the company in massive ways and the pandemic provided that moment to rise to the challenge. We had the opportunity to apply the resident skills and experience of the company with the challenges and opportunities presented to us by COVID.”
In December 2021, Tang was awarded the 7th Annual Globy Award for Corporate Leadership by the Global Philadelphia Association in recognition of his work leading OraSure through the pandemic.
Tang also participated as a panelist in a spring 2021 virtual Community Conversation with President Katherine Rowe about improving lives during the pandemic. The conversation featured alumni on the front lines of testing and vaccine research as well as students, faculty and staff inspiring others through service.
“In all of the leadership positions I had until the pandemic, I was fortunate enough to have a lifelong course on what it means to actually be a leader,” Tang says. “And I look to the example of what America’s founders did, under extremely adverse conditions, to establish this country and bring it forward into the world — through strife, disagreements, bloodshed, war. It gives me the perspective that if they could lead people through difficult times, care for them, serve them, then maybe I can do the same.”
Read the full story on the W&M Alumni Magazine website.