Some big names in national politics will be playing a role in the graduation ceremonies of Capital Region colleges this spring.
Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases and the central federal official in the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be honored as part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s commencement ceremony on May 22. And former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is slated to serve as a virtual commencement speaker for the May 30 Siena College graduation ceremony.
Fauci will be joined by former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, and John Anderson, president of the National Academy of Engineering, in receiving honors as part of the college’s graduation.
The school’s in-person ceremony will be reserved for students only due to COVID-19 restrictions and will be held at the East Campus Athletic Village stadium. A live stream will also be available.
It’s not clear if Fauci will be making an appearance in the Capital Region. RPI spokesperson Reeve Hamilton on Tuesday said the four honorands are expected to participate in commencement weekend activities “either in-person or virtual” and that more specific details would be announced at a later date.
Siena will host two separate graduation ceremonies at the Times Union Center on May 30 to enable the college’s roughly 800 graduates to celebrate at an in-person event while staying within state guidelines.
Rice will receive an honorary doctorate from Siena. Rice served as secretary of state under President George Bush from 2005 to 2009, the first Black woman to hold the position as the nation’s top diplomat.
“Dr. Rice was chosen as our commencement speaker to reflect both of these priorities: the remarkable and amazing life she has lived overcoming searing challenges, and the superb scholarship she has produced on how democracies can survive and flourish in the face of the polarizing international influences bent on undermining our confidence to be self-governing.”