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Wafaa El-Sadr to Be Honored at Commencement

AIDS researcher will receive Doctor of Science, deliver Baccalaureate


AIDS researcher and Baccalaureate speaker Wafaa El-Sadr is among BU’s five 2010 honorary degree recipients.

Leading AIDS researcher and global health advocate Wafaa El-Sadr will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Science at Boston University’s 137th Commencement, on Sunday, May 16. Earlier that day, she will deliver the Baccalaureate address at Marsh Chapel.

El-Sadr is the director of the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP), of the Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiologic Research, and of the Global Health Initiative, all at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She is currently a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University.

ICAP, founded by El-Sadr, provides technical assistance to resource-limited countries for HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs, which have delivered life-saving antiretroviral therapy to more than 750,000 people living with HIV.

Prior to working at the Mailman School, she served for two decades as chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City. There she was instrumental in developing an internationally recognized HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis program focused on service, training, and research.

El-Sadr has been the principal investigator for many grant-funded projects that have advanced the understanding, prevention, and treatment of HIV and TB. Her work has led to the creation of the Domestic Prevention Working Group, which focuses on domestic aspects of the HIV epidemic.

In 2008, she was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow, also known as the Genius Award, for her creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions for the future. In 2009, Rolling Stone named her to its list of “100 People Who Are Changing America.”

El-Sadr earned a medical degree from Cairo University, a master’s in epidemiology from the Mailman School, and a master’s in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The University Baccalaureate Service is at 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 16, in Marsh Chapel and lasts approximately an hour. More information is available here.

Wafaa El-Sadr is one of five honorary degree recipients at this year’s Commencement. Edward Albee, a Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright, will receive a Doctor of Letters. Osamu Shimomura, a Nobel Prize–winning chemist and School of Medicine professor emeritus of physiology, will be awarded a Doctor of Science. Attorney William T. Coleman, Jr., a champion of civil rights, will receive a Doctor of Laws. Commencement speaker Eric H. Holder, Jr., attorney general of the United States, will receive a Doctor of Laws. 

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter @amlaskow.

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