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Coronavirus Pandemic Expert and Holy Cross Alumnus Dr. Anthony Fauci ’62: A Man for and With Others

The longtime infectious disease expert has emerged as the nation's face of public health amid the fight against the coronavirus
March 18th, 2020 by 

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci '62 is seen here during a 2010 lecture for to the Holy Cross community titled
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci '62 is seen here during a 2010 lecture for to the Holy Cross community titled "Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases: The Perpetual Challenge to Global Health"

As the coronavirus pandemic has upended daily life across the globe, Holy Cross alumnus Dr. Anthony Fauci ’62, expert on infectious diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has become a trusted voice in leading the nation’s response to the epidemic.

This is not the first time we have looked to Fauci for leadership during a public health crisis. A renowned international expert on the immune system, Fauci took over as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in 1984, shortly after scientists had identified the retrovirus that was killing thousands of people—known today as HIV.

He has since pioneered the development of therapies that extend the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS and pushed for a vaccine to prevent the infection—work that has earned him 45 honorary doctoral degrees from universities around the world, the National Medal of Science, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Today, he is widely considered the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases.

A classics major with a premedical concentration at Holy Cross, Fauci credits his professional success to the Jesuit intellectual rigor that was a core part of his education, instilling in him a lifelong commitment to social justice.

“There was a certain spirit of scholarship up there that was not matched in anything that I’d experienced,” Fauci told Holy Cross Magazine in 2002. “The idea of seriousness of purpose—I don’t mean nerdish seriousness of purpose—I mean the importance of personal development, scholarly development and the high standard of integrity and principles that became a part of everyday life at Holy Cross. And that, I think, was passed down from the Jesuits and from the lay faculty to the students.”

Having guided the U.S. through the HIV/AIDS, Zika, and Ebola epidemics, Fauci has become a familiar media presence, with The Boston Globe calling him “the point man on coronavirus” as the pandemic escalates. Widely respected for his ability to explain complex science in layman’s terms to the general public, Fauci is fighting the coronavirus “with the sledgehammer of truth,” according to The Washington Post.

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