Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s infectious disease expert who became renowned this year for his work combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, will be among those receiving honorary degrees at Bowdoin College’s commencement exercises on May 29, 2021.

Civil rights activist and Campaign Zero co-founder DeRay Mckesson and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir will receive honorary degrees as well. Freedom Rider William Harbour will be presented with an honorary degree posthumously.

Fauci has headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. Fauci has served American public health in various capacities for more than 50 years and has been an advisor to every US president since Ronald Reagan. He has made significant contributions to HIV/AIDS research and other immunodeficiency diseases. He will serve as chief medical advisor to the incoming Biden Administration.

Harbour, as a civil rights activist, was a student at Tennessee State University in May 1961 when he participated in the Freedom Rides, first traveling on a Greyhound bus from Nashville to Montgomery, Alabama, then later from Nashville to Jackson, Mississippi. He and a group of other activists, both Black and white, faced violent mobs, members of the KKK and hostile police forces as they protested enforced racial segregation on public bus systems and the nonenforcement of several Supreme Court decisions that ruled such segregation unconstitutional.

Mckesson, a member of the Bowdoin College Class of 2007, is a civil rights activist, a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter movement and a cofounder of Campaign Zero, a nonprofit devoted to promoting legislative and policy solutions against police violence and mass incarceration. Mckesson is also the host of the award-winning weekly podcast “Pod Save the People,” which combines an analysis of current news with deep conversations about social, political, and cultural issues with experts, influencers, and diverse local and national leaders.

Meir is a NASA astronaut, marine biologist, and physiologist. Meir spent 205 days in space, took 3,280 orbits of Earth, and traveled 86.9 million miles. Born in the town of Caribou in northern Maine, Meir became the first woman from the state to reach space. NASA announced in December 2020 that Meir is among candidates for the Artemis Team, which is to be the first human mission to orbit and land on the moon in nearly fifty years. If chosen, Meir would be the first woman on the moon.

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