An honorary degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Siena has been awarded to the two scientists Anthony Stephen Fauci and Rino Rappuoli. The ceremony was held in Siena, at the Rectorate of the University of Siena. Celebrations began with the intervention of Roberto Di Pietra, Rector of the University, that greeted and welcomed the two newly graduated and the many civil, military, and religious academic authorities attending the ceremony.
“We’re pleased and honoured to have you here in our University”, said Rector Roberto Di Pietra during his speech. “The University of Siena has always paid special attention to promoting diversity and to offering a rich variety of courses with different focus areas. In fact, our University can boast numerous excellences in the life sciences field, and it is no coincidence that our educational and research programs are intimately linked to the network of companies and institutions that work in the same context”.
“The opportunity to be here and to award these two honorary degrees perfectly complements the commitment of our University to the life sciences field” said Rector Di Pietra. “They symbolize the recognition of a long journey made of experiences, knowledge and significant results always shared with the international scientific community. Moreover, they represent an act of gratitude for the contribution made towards science and knowledge in general. These are the reasons that, in 2022, led the University of Siena to choose Drs. Anthony Fauci and Rino Rappuoli as worthy candidates for the honorary degrees in Medicine and Surgery”.
Professors Francesco Dotta, Director of the Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, and Vincenzo Sorrentino, Director of the Department of Molecular and Developmental Medicine, presented the motivations and the laudatio for the two honoris causa degrees.
The ceremony continued with Drs. Anthony Fauci and Rino Rappuoli’s lectiones magistrales respectively entitled “Pandemic Preparedness and Response: Lessons from COVID-19” and “I Vaccini del Futuro e la conquista di traguardi impossibili” (lit. “Vaccines of the future and the conquest of impossible goals”).
“It is a great honour for me to receive this prestigious award from the University of Siena, an institution that boasts a long tradition of expertise in numerous fields of the research and that has also been the cradle of my education” said Professor Rino Rappuoli, scientific director of the Biotecnopolo di Siena Foundation. “Having Anthony Fauci here in Siena is the proof of the scientific value of a territory that has always given a decisive contribution to the scientific progress thanks to its solid tradition, its expertise, its technologies and its people. It is also a privilege for us to be able to count on Fauci’s experience and knowledge for the development of the activities at the Biotecnopolo di Siena Foundation. Thanks to his contribution, which is a guarantee of precision and innovation, we will continue to make our contribution to the improvement of people’s lives.
“Science has always been able to prove its crucial support to the growth of humanity”, continues Professor Rappuoli. “Its incontrovertible results are and will always be the only weapon against the cultural and scientific obscurantism that alters reality and causes confusion. Science is meant to illuminate people and give them freedom. Today, science is represented by young people, by our students that are about to celebrate an important educational goal in the beautiful Piazza del Campo. We are handing the future to them, because investing in scientific research means, above all, ensuring the economic and social development of our society. We will continue to work with our utmost commitment to science to face the future public health challenges. To conclude, we hope that there will be more opportunities to share the results of our research in a rigorous and transparent way”.