Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, will deliver the keynote address at the University of New England’s 186th commencement exercises next month.

A key leader in the state’s effort to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Shah will receive an honorary degree before delivering the address via video on May 15 and May 16 during each of the university’s six individual college graduation ceremonies.

Shah was appointed director of the Maine CDC in June 2019, coming to Maine from Illinois, where he directed the Department of Public Health. Shah also is an attorney and public health economist. Earlier in his career, he worked as an epidemiologist for the Ministry of Health in Cambodia.

“Dr. Shah has been a tireless leader and a fearless advocate for science throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic, and his work to promote public health aligns strongly with UNE’s commitment to bettering the health of our communities and the planet,” UNE President James D. Herbert said. “Dr. Shah is a role model for our students, and I am excited to hear what knowledge and insights he has to share with our community.”

UNE will award more than 1,800 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees during its two-day commencement exercises.

In compliance with Maine’s size gathering limits, guests will not be permitted at the university’s in-person ceremonies. All ceremonies, however, will be livestreamed so that loved ones can celebrate with graduates virtually.

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