Fauci to virtually address in-person commencement ceremonies

Emory University is moving forward with plans to have its spring graduation ceremony in person, however has opted to have Dr. Anthony Fauci, their commencement speaker, give his address remotely.

Dr. Fauci will not be attending due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, though the university has deemed the ceremony itself safe enough to be in person.

The Chief Medical Advisor to the President, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is slated to give a virtual commencement speech at Emory University’s in-person graduation ceremony.

Dr. Fauci’s virtual appearance comes despite the fact that Emory will be inviting all graduating students, plus two guests, to physically attend the event. Though the event will be entirely in person, save for Dr. Fauci’s speech, COVID restrictions will remain in place for the duration of the ceremony.

All attendees will be asked to maintain six feet of distance from others at all times, wear face masks, and refrain from eating or drinking water unless “medically necessary”, among other things.

Due to pandemic restrictions, all nine of Emory’s colleges and schools will hold separate graduation ceremonies between May 14 and May 16. Dr. Fauci is scheduled to give his address live May 16 and 10 a.m. On May 7, the university will hold “Modupe Dayo”, a graduation event “honoring the achievements of Black students” while “pay[ing] tribute to African ancestors and heritage.” A similar event will be held the following day  for members “of the graduating Latinx community.”

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Students who will not be graduating that day will have the opportunity to watch the speech online from home. Students at all ceremonies will be shown a prerecorded acceptance speech given by Dr.Fauci in honor of his being awarded Emory’s President’s Medal.

Dr. Fauci will become one of just six individuals to be awarded both an honorary degree and the president’s medal from the university, joining the ranks of people like President Jimmy Carter and the Dalai Lama.

Emory University did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment.

Campus Reform also reached out to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is also hosting an in-person graduation ceremony featuring a virtual appearance from Dr. Fauci.

A spokesperson for UNC referred our inquiry to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In a statement to Campus Reform, a spokesperson for the NIAID said that “In previous years, Dr. Fauci has traveled to deliver commencement speeches in person. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Fauci will deliver 2021 commencement speeches virtually.”

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President of Emory University, Gregory L. Fenves, said in a press release that he “cannot think of a more inspiring person than Dr. Fauci to address the Class of 2021, whose Emory experience has been so dramatically shaped by the pandemic, and whose resilience and determination have inspired us again and again.”

According to Fenves, “Dr. Fauci’s name has become synonymous with truth, clarity and medical expertise” going on to say that he “has become one of the most trusted voices in medicine for millions of Americans.”