President Michael Roth announced on Monday afternoon that Partners in Health co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer will deliver the commencement address at the 179th Commencement on May 22.

Farmer is an internationally renowned physician and an expert in public health. In 1983, he traveled to Haiti, where he founded Zanmi Lasante, a clinic that later expanded to include a 104-bed hospital, school, and surgery and pediatric wings. In 1987, Farmer co-founded the non-profit organization Partners in Health, which boasts Zamni Lasante as its flagship project, but also includes projects in Russia, Peru, and Rwanda. It is known for its groundbreaking treatment programs in multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Farmer has published several books, most recently “Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader.” A 2003 recipient of the prestigious Heinz Award for the Human Condition, Farmer boasts several titles, including Kolokotrones University Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and United Nations Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti, under Special Envoy Bill Clinton.

Since Roth’s announcement, several members of the class of 2011 have expressed excitement about Farmer’s anticipated visit.

“He’s one of the most important people in the public health world,” said Alix Haber ’11, a neuroscience and Science in Society Program double major. “Mountains Beyond Mountains is one of the most life-changing books, and inspired me to go into the field of public health.”

Other honorary degree recipients at commencement will include singer Barbara Cook, President and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Alberto Ibargüen ’66, P’97, Jean Adams Shaw P’79, and Ralph “Biff” H. Shaw II ’51, P’79.

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