Sen. Elizabeth Warren to deliver keynote address at in-person Commencement

Media Credit: File Photo by Matthew Edwards | Photographer

University President Thomas LeBlanc will also award the President's Medal at the ceremony to Anthony Fauci and two professors for their public health efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., will serve as keynote speaker at this year’s Commencement ceremony for the classes of 2020 and 2021, officials announced Thursday.

Warren, who attended GW from 1966 to 1968, will be recognized with an honorary Doctor of Public Service alongside former Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell, who received the honor virtually in May, on the National Mall during the Oct. 2 ceremony. Officials had held virtual ceremonies for the two graduating classes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but in June announced the joint, rescheduled in-person ceremony.

Officials recognized Warren along with nearly 70 other alumni with the Monumental Alumni award in April as part of the University’s ongoing bicentennial celebrations. The rescheduled Commencement will take place as a part of a University-wide, weekend-long celebration marking the end of the bicentennial.

“As a distinguished senator who has spent her career serving others, one of our GW community’s most requested speakers, and a Monumental Alumna, Senator Warren will be an inspiration to the classes of 2020 and 2021 at this critical time in history,” University President Thomas LeBlanc said in a release.

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, will receive the President’s Medal at the ceremony, the highest honor that can be bestowed by the University president.

Fauci was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service from the University in 2015.

University President Thomas LeBlanc will also award the President’s Medal at the ceremony to Cindy Liu, an associate professor in the department of environmental and occupational health, and Andrew Maurano, an associate clinical professor of emergency medicine.

Liu organized GW’s on-campus COVID-19 testing laboratory – which has processed more than 150,000 tests for students, faculty, staff and contractors – while Maurano helped launch a partnership with the D.C. government that lead to the vaccination of more than 45,000 people, according to the Commencement website.

“I am thrilled that during this historic in-person event we will have the privilege of honoring three heroes of the pandemic, including Dr. Fauci and two of our very own university community members, Professors Cindy Liu and Andrew Maurano,” LeBlanc said. “They represent the many scientists and frontline workers who have led us through the most challenging days of the pandemic.”

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