Dr. Fauci surprises Swarthmore College students during virtual graduation

SWARTHMORE, Pennsylvania -- Dr. Anthony Fauci surprised Swarthmore College's class of 2020 during Sunday's virtual commencement ceremony.

"We are currently confronting an unprecedented global pandemic and I'm profoundly aware that celebrating your graduation virtually without the in-person support of your professors, fellow students and friends is extremely disappointing at best. However, we must adapt to this extraordinary situation as you have done so well and unite in overcoming this challenge," said Fauci during his opening remarks.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Swarthmore's graduating class that they will play a vital role in fighting this COVID-19 pandemic.

"Please hang in there, we need your talent, your energy, your resolve and your character to get through this difficult time. In the next phases of your lives, whether you ultimately help patients, conduct research on medical solutions, or more likely, most of you, simply contribute as caring, connected members of society, all of you will do your part together with the rest of us to come out from under the shadow of this pandemic," said Fauci.

On Sunday, 418 students graduated from the private college based in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

From the college's Scott Outdoor Amphitheater, President Valerie Smith, joked that Fauci's surprise was "the closest thing to 'Zoom bombing' that they've had to deal with this semester.'"

Fauci ended his remarks by saying, "With Swarthmore's legacy of social responsibility and community, and your reputation for innovation, I have no doubt that you will be helping to lead the way."

The college plans to have an in-person graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 in the near future.