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Anthony Fauci surprises Holy Cross graduates with virtual commencement celebration message

Anthony Fauci


Zelda Caldwell - published on 05/22/20 - updated on 05/23/20

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, who is also an alum of the Massachusetts college, said he leans on the Jesuit education and spiritual formation he received there.

College graduates all over the country are, for the time being, having to settle for virtual commencement ceremonies and digitally transmitted diplomas, as the coronavirus pandemic has put all celebrations on hold.

Members of the Class of 2020 at the College of the Holy Cross had their in-person commencement ceremony postponed until the spring of 2021, but they had a surprise awaiting them online on Friday evening, which will certainly make their 2020 virtual graduation celebration a memorable one. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and an alum of Catholic College of the Holy Cross himself, addressed the graduates of the Worcester, Massachusetts college with words of advice and encouragement.

Calling the members of the Class of 2020 “my intellectual and spiritual brothers and sisters,” Fauci told the graduating students that he appreciated the sacrifice they were making in forgoing a graduation celebration.

“I am profoundly aware that graduating during this time, in this virtual way, unable to celebrate in person, this important milestone in your lives, with your friends, classmates and teachers, is extremely difficult,” said Fauci.

“I deeply empathize with the situation in which you find yourselves. However, I encourage you to stay strong and unflinching. The country and the world need your talent, your energy, your resolve, and your character,” he said.

Fauci then reflected on his “formative years” at the Jesuit college, where he said he received an education that has served him well.

“The College of the Holy Cross from which I graduated in 1962 holds a very special place in my heart.I was a classics major with a pre-medical concentration. Permeating the entire experience was the Jesuit spirit of intellectual rigor. Precision of thought and economy of expression are tenets that have remained my touchstones to this day, applied to how I think, how I write, and how I communicate with the public,” he said.

“Especially during these currently unsettling times. Just as important, however, was the Jesuit emphasis on social justice and service to others. Now is the time if ever there was one for us to care selflessly about one another. The education that you and I have received at Holy Cross, steeped in Jesuit traditions, should suit us well to confront and ultimately overcome this historic pandemic,” said Fauci before wishing the graduates “good health and all the best” in their future pursuits.

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