May 26, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fauci made a special appearance during Swarthmore College's virtual commencement ceremony Sunday, delivering a message of hope to 418 members of the Class of 2020.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, began his speech by addressing the disappointment many students have experienced this graduation season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I'm profoundly aware that celebrating your graduation virtually without the in-person support of your professors, fellow students and friends is extremely disappointing at best," Fauci said. "However, we must adapt to this extraordinary situation, as you have done so well, and unite in overcoming this challenge."
The liberal arts college in Delaware County canceled its in-person graduation, as did most colleges across the country. It instead moved forward with a virtual ceremony as a way to honor students while maintaining social distancing guidelines.
"Please hang in there, we need your talent, your energy, your resolve and your character to get through this difficult time," Fauci added. "In the next phases of your lives, whether you ultimately help patients, conduct research on medical solutions, or more likely, most of you, simply contribute as caring and connected members of society — all of you will do your part together with the rest of us to come out from under the shadow of this pandemic."
Swarthmore President Valerie Smith thanked Fauci for his message before joking, "Thankfully, that's the closest thing to a Zoom bombing that we've had to deal with this semester."
Earlier this month, University of Pennsylvania graduates received a surprise performance from John Legend during the school's virtual commencement ceremony. The Penn alum sang the university's theme song, "The Red and Blue," alongside a student ensemble.
Watch Dr. Fauci give his speech to the Swarthmore College graduates below.