ROCHESTER, Minn. — Two keynote speakers, including Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will highlight the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 11.
The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences traditionally has had its commencement in tandem with Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine. This year’s ceremony will be different, and not just because of the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Fredric Meyer, M.D., Waugh Executive Dean of Education at Mayo Clinic.
“This is a special moment for graduates and their families as well as the entire Graduate School faculty and family,” says Dr. Meyer. “Due to the pandemic, we can’t have the in-person ceremony that we would like, but we want to celebrate the achievements of these outstanding students as they begin their biomedical research careers.”
Dr. Fauci’s speech will be pre-recorded in Washington, D.C., where he will receive an honorary doctorate presented by Stella Hartono, M.D., Ph.D., a 2017 graduate who now works alongside him at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Fauci, who has been one of the most visible public health leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been NIAID director since 1984.
Franklyn Prendergast, M.D., Ph.D., emeritus professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and pharmacology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, also will be a keynote speaker at the event. Dr. Prendergast held major leadership roles at Mayo Clinic from the early 1980s through his retirement in 2014.
Also speaking at the event will be Dr. Meyer; Stephen Ekker, Ph.D., dean of the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Alaa Koleilat, Ph.D., a Class of 2021 graduate; and Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., Mayo Clinic president and CEO.
Sixty-two students will graduate with the Class of 2021, including 26 Ph.D., 31 master’s, and five M.D.-Ph.D. graduates. The school also has invited Class of 2020 graduates to attend.
The Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences offers Ph.D., M.D.-Ph.D., and other biomedical research training programs in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. The Graduate School, embedded in one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, provides extraordinary training experiences that develop biomedical scientists, educators, and innovators whose leadership will change the world.
For journalists: The livestream of commencement will begin at 1 p.m. CDT and can be viewed at https://mssvideoupload.mayo.edu/media/t/1_sl0hlq15. Dr. Fauci’s speech is planned for approximately 1:08 p.m. and Dr. Prendergast’s will occur about 1:30 p.m.
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- Jay Furst, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, email@example.com