Dr. Anthony Fauci to speak virtually at UNC Chapel Hill’s 2021 commencement ceremony


Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, looks on before testifying at a Senate Health, Education, and Labor and Pensions Committee on Capitol Hill in September. (Photo by Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — One of the biggest household names of 2020 and 2021 will speak at UNC Chapel Hill’s commencement ceremony in May, according to the university.

The spring graduation ceremony will include remarks by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor.

Fauci has advised and led the country’s response to the pandemic and has worked with seven presidents, from Ronald Reagan to Joe Biden.

The doctor has served as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director since 1984 and is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Fauci will be joined by immunologist Kizzmekia Corbett, an alumna of UNC Chapel Hill.

Corbett has been at the forefront of vaccine development as a leading scientist at the National Institutes of Health.

She earned her Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the UNC School of Medicine in 2014. Her interest in rapid vaccine development led her to a postdoc fellowship at the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center, where she studied coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS. That work laid the foundation for the speed with which her team developed a COVID-19 vaccine.

Corbett is now a research fellow and the scientific lead for the Coronaviruses Vaccines and Immunopathogenesis Team at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“We are honored to have Dr. Anthony Fauci and Carolina alumna Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett deliver the Commencement address at our ceremonies this May,” Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz said. “Over this past year, these two medical leaders have worked tirelessly to serve our country and keep us safe. Drs. Fauci and Corbett embody our University’s mission of teaching, research and service. Their commitment to saving lives through discovery and innovation will inspire our graduates as they enter the next chapter of their lives.”

The university plans to host smaller graduation ceremonies over the course of three days, from May 14 to 16.

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