The voice of reason
Shippensburg University in December, 1999, gave an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the leading U.S. scientific voice on the COVID-19 pandemic.
In selecting commencement speakers and individuals to receive an honorary degree, university leaders looked for individuals who have made extraordinary contributions in their respective fields and who have had a significant impact on the world.
Dr. Fauci’s selection was an easy one. He was honored for his work in combating AIDS. In the 1980s, his research into the disease was known worldwide as was his advocacy for continued scientific studies.
I was chair of the Commencement Committee and had the privilege to work with Dr. Fauci before his visit and hosted him while he was on campus. During his visit he was a consummate professional who, in addition to receiving the degree, shared his knowledge, experiences and wisdom with the graduates and a field house packed with their families and friends. He was very unassuming and was humble in his acceptance of the degree.
Several years later, the university had a cluster of meningitis cases at the start of the fall semester. University leadership called Dr. Fauci for advice. He graciously provided information and guidance we needed to ensure the safety of the students and the campus community.
Since then, he has been at the forefront of confronting other diseases such as SARS, the swine flu and Ebola.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially here in the U.S., he has been the voice of reason, of science, and of truth. His calming demeanor, his ease in explaining the science to non-scientists, and his no-nonsense way of telling people how to solve the problem give us hope that there will be an end to this.
When he talks, I listen. When he gives advice, I take it. Our country is blessed to have him at the scientific helm of this battle.
The Washington Post profiled him recently in this article: https://wapo.st/3djiZjQ. The Post also did a story on how Dr. Fauci handles the misinformation that is presented during the administration's briefings.: https://wapo.st/2UtrRuS.