Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Dr. Anthony Fauci ’58 was honored with the Deo et Patriae Award on Wednesday, November 11. Established in 1981, the annual award is presented to a person who has served Regis and the community in a distinguished capacity.
“This pandemic has been difficult for all of us, and perhaps no one has been a greater servant to his country during this time than Dr. Fauci,” said President Fr. Daniel K. Lahart, SJ, in his opening remarks. “Most people don’t have to get a Presidential Medal of Freedom before they get the Deo et Patriae,” said Fr. Lahart, “but we join with hundreds of millions of Americans in saying thank you for your service to God and country.”
A Brooklyn native, Dr. Fauci’s interest in medicine emerged early, delivering prescriptions at his parents’ pharmacy in Dyker Heights. While at Regis, he distinguished himself in the classroom and as the captain of the basketball team. After graduating from the College of the Holy Cross and Cornell University Medical College, Dr. Fauci joined the National Institute of Health, and in 1984 he was appointed Director of NIAID. He has since been at the forefront of research on infectious and immune-mediated illnesses, aiding US efforts to contend with HIV/AIDS, Swine Flu, and the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Fauci accepted the award during the Deo et Patriae Reception and Celebration, which recognizes all those who supported Regis at the Order of the Owl level during the previous fiscal year. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the event was conducted over Zoom, beginning with a virtual “cocktail hour,” where attendees were divided into breakout rooms to reminisce about Regis and discuss their appreciation for Dr. Fauci’s work.
The formal program was aired as a live webinar, which included an opening prayer from History teacher Fr. Arthur C Bender ’67, SJ. Fr. Lahart then delivered his remarks, sharing a message to Dr. Fauci from President George W. Bush, who said "Tony truly inspires leadership, generosity, and a lifelong passion for service as a Man for Others." (Read President Bush's full letter here.) An appreciation video to Dr. Fauci was also shared, with messages of thanks from several members of the Regis community, including Edward Desciak ’21, Raymond Quirolgico ’87, Dr. Ryan O’Halloran ’05, and Joshua Chambers, a 7th grader from the REACH program.
“To me, recognition from the institution that I hold so dear to everything that I do is as good as any accolade or award, official or unofficial, that I’ve ever received,” said Dr. Fauci in his acceptance speech. Addressing over 400 virtual attendees, Dr. Fauci formally thanked Regis for shaping him into the man he is today, reflecting on the idea that “Men for Others—that is, service—is the password of the institution.” After his remarks, Dr. Fauci opened the floor for questions, sharing his thoughts about the timeline for a new vaccine and when the current pandemic may come to an end.
The event concluded with Chair of Regis’ Board of Trustees Anthony DiNovi ’80, who presented Dr. Fauci with an honorary T-shirt modelled off of his old Regis basketball jersey. “In a world where spotlights are directed to athletes, politicians, and actors,” said DiNovi, “it’s really encouraging to feel that same awe and admiration for someone whose fame is based on honesty, commitment, and an unwavering moral compass. It’s really quite special.”
The full recording of the Deo et Patriae reception and photos from the event are available below. All members of the Regis community are invited to send a note of appreciation or gratitude to Dr. Fauci by emailing NotetoDrFauci@regis.org.
Fr. Daniel K Lahart, SJ, shared a letter from President George W. Bush, who commended Dr. Fauci for the work he has done throughout his career.