Anthony Fauci is a nationally renowned immunologist who became one of the most trusted figures in American public health following the outbreak of the coronavirus. A longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in 2020 Fauci joined the White House Coronavirus Task Force. In this role, Fauci has helped educate the public on how the virus spreads and what precautions to take, while also being involved with the initial stages of vaccine development.

Previously, Fauci first came into the public spotlight during the 1980s when his trailblazing research led the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He first began working for the NIAID in the late 1960s and has since made many seminal contributions to clinical research on the pathogenesis and treatment of immune-mediated diseases. Over the years, Fauci has served as Visiting Professor at major medical centers throughout the country. He has delivered many major lectureships all over the world and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his scientific accomplishments, including 16 honorary doctorate degrees from universities in the U.S. and abroad. Fauci also balances his time by contributing to numerous editorial boards, academies, and scientific journals. In addition to being one of the country's most visible physicians, he is the author, co-author, or editor of more than 900 scientific publications, including several textbooks. In 2020, Time Magazine named Fauci a guardian of the year.

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Although Fauci would eventually become one of Cornell Medical College's most distinguished graduates, he first got his taste of Cornell even before enrolling. Prior to his last undergraduate year, Fauci earned extra money by laboring on a crew that helped build a new library at Cornell Medical College. At one point, he was even asked to leave the premises by a security guard who scoffed at the suggestion that the unkempt young man seriously planned on attending the prestigious school. But in 1962, Fauci did enter Cornell Medical College. Four years later he graduated first in his class with a Doctor of Medicine degree, before completing his residency at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

Since graduating, Fauci has been a big part of the Cornell community, returning over the years for numerous public events. In 1998, for instance, Fauci helped kick off Cornell University Medical College's centennial anniversary by delivering the keynote address, titled "Return of a Native Son," in which he proclaimed: "I carry around a bit of Cornell with me at all times, whether I am conducting a bench experiment, designing and executing a clinical trial... It is all anchored here at Cornell... And take it from a native son who went away —it stays with you forever."

On top of that, Fauci has returned to campus to give talks to students, take part in class reunions, and even extend his congratulations to the Class of 2020 via a video commencement address. In 1992, his alma mater presented him with its Alumni Award of Distinction, in recognition of his extraordinary achievements as a physician and researcher, which continue to bring honor and acclaim to the medical college.