Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the federal coronavirus response on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 18, 2021. Credit: Susan Walsh / AP

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert and White House medical adviser for the Biden administration, received an honorary degree at Bowdoin College’s 216th commencement ceremony on Saturday.

Fauci has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, and since March, he has emerged as one of the country’s top experts and trusted medical figures. He has advised six presidents over 36 years, but became a household name through his medical advice that millions have come to trust throughout the pandemic.

NASA astronaut and Caribou native Jessica Meir and civil rights activist and Bowdoin alum DeRay Mckesson were also awarded honorary degrees. Civil rights activist and Freedom Rider William Harbour was awarded an honorary degree posthumously.

Bowdoin awarded 467 degrees to a class that included students from 41 states, along with 22 countries and territories. Gov. Janet Mills delivered a video greeting.

A pair of seniors, Sarisha Kurup and David Zhou, delivered the commencement in keeping with a tradition that dates to 1806 of giving speaking honors to graduating seniors.