Dr. Anthony Fauci set to speak at Class of 2020 Commencement ceremony


Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci will deliver remarks for the College of William and Mary’s Class of 2020 Commencement ceremony in October. Fauci will receive an honorary doctorate of science from the College and will speak virtually. Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, an expert in biodiversity and founder of “Nature” on PBS, and Donald Patten, lawyer and former rector of the College, will also receive honorary degrees.

Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and has become known for his public health advisory role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He has advised seven presidents on domestic and global health issues and is known as the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases. Fauci previously hosted a community conversation with College President Katherine Rowe in February. 

“Dr. Fauci exemplifies the value of service that runs so deep in our university,” Rowe said in a press release. “He’s a public servant, who studied classics before turning to medicine. This breadth serves him well as he helps our nation navigate the challenge of our time. He is the ideal person to speak to William & Mary’s Class of 2020, who completed their degrees and launched professional lives amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Lovejoy, who will receive an honorary doctorate of science from the College, is an ecologist and environmental policy advisor who has worked on the interaction between climate change and biodiversity for over 30 years. He is the founder of the television series “Nature” on PBS, and he previously served as the senior advisor to the president of the United Nations Foundation and the chief biodiversity advisor to the World Bank.

“Thomas Lovejoy’s career reflects W&M’s mission: to advance learning and research that tackles our world’s most pressing problems,” Rowe said. “For over five decades, he has advocated for conservation efforts to combat the devastating effects of climate change. We are privileged to honor his lifetime of dedication to this planet.”

Patten, who will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from the College, is an attorney with the firm of Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein in Newport News, Virginia. He served on the College’s Board of Visitors from 1999 to 2003 and as its rector from 2001 to 2003. His career in law focused on asbestos product liability litigation, representing individuals injured by asbestos in multiple states. He is also involved in the Newport News community, previously serving as chair of the Planning Commission, chair of the Peninsula Airport Commission, a member of the Newport News City Council and vice mayor. 

“As rector, Donald Patten strengthened William & Mary’s ties to our surrounding peninsula,” Rowe said. “Over the past year, these partnerships have played a critical role in mitigating the pandemic’s impact in our region. We are proud to honor his long-standing service to our university, his professional accomplishments on behalf of public health and his many civic contributions.”

Fauci, Lovejoy and Patten will receive their honorary degrees during the Class of 2020’s Commencement events, held during the College’s homecoming weekend of Oct. 7-10.



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