Emory's 2021 Commencement Speaker: Dr. Anthony Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Dear Emory community,

I have exciting news! Dr. Anthony Fauci will be the featured speaker for the Emory College of Arts and Sciences Commencement ceremony on May 16, 2021.

Dr. Fauci received an honorary degree from Emory in 2003, and this year, I am looking forward to awarding him the Emory President’s Medal—one of our university’s highest honors—for his extraordinary service to the nation. 

During the past year, the name Fauci has become synonymous with truth, clarity, and medical expertise. As chief physician to our country in the midst of a pandemic, Dr. Fauci has become one of the most trusted voices in medicine for millions of Americans. He has saved countless lives and helped carry us through wave after wave of COVID-19.

Yet Dr. Fauci’s very public leadership during the past year is only part of his decades-long legacy of service as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where he has overseen critical research efforts related to HIV/AIDS, vaccines for infectious diseases, malaria, antibiotic resistance, and many other programs that are not only deeply important to communities around the world but also to Emory. He has advised seven U.S. presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues, and he was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a program that has saved millions of lives. 

I cannot think of a more inspiring person to address the Emory College Class of 2021!

The Emory College of Arts and Sciences Commencement ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 16, in the Georgia World Congress Center. Dr. Fauci will deliver his speech live from Washington, D.C., and it will be made available to all Emory graduates and our entire community online via livestream. He will also deliver an acceptance speech for the President’s Medal, which will be played during the Commencement ceremonies for all of Emory’s schools scheduled for May 14, 15, and 16. We will share more information about Commencement—including the livestream link—in the coming months via our website.    

Only five individuals have received both an honorary degree and the Emory President’s Medal—President Jimmy Carter, Congressman John Lewis, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr. William Foege, and Ambassador Andrew Young. Dr. Anthony Fauci will join that short list of iconic figures, and we couldn’t be prouder.

Emory’s motto, “the wise heart seeks knowledge,” is exemplified by Dr. Fauci’s many decades of public service. Indeed, it is his wise heart, and the knowledge he has provided, that have helped us get through a year like no other. 

I cannot wait to hear from him in May—it will be a very special moment for our graduates and everyone at Emory.


Gregory L. Fenves