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Pioneering HIV Researcher Dr. Robert Gallo to Address Graduates at CMSV Commencement May 21, 2011
5/5/2011 - Riverdale, N.Y. – Pioneering HIV researcher Dr. Robert C. Gallo will address the nearly 350 graduates, their families and friends at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 21, 2011 on the Great Lawn of the College’s Riverdale campus. Dr. Gallo will receive an honorary doctorate of science degree in honor of his contributions in the field of AIDS research as part of the ceremony, which will be presented by CMSV alumna Dr. Paula Moynahan ’64.

A separate baccalaureate awards and hooding ceremony, Mass and reception will be held on Friday, May 20, 2011. The awards and hooding ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. in Hayes Auditorium, Grace Center. The Baccalaureate Mass will be held at 5 p.m. in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in Founders Hall, for all graduates and their guests. Following the Mass, a reception will take place in Smith Hall, which is located in The Academy (South Wing) of Founders Hall, previously known as the Administration Building.

In 1984, Robert C. Gallo, M.D. co-discovered the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to be the cause of AIDS. Little was known then of the illness that was fast becoming the deadliest epidemic in medical history. Dr. Gallo has spent the past two decades trying to solve one of humanity’s greatest scientific challenges.

Though best known for his co-discovery of HIV, Dr. Gallo and his team in the early 1980s also pioneered the development of the HIV blood test, which enabled health care workers for the first time to screen for the AIDS virus, leading to a more rapid diagnosis while simultaneously protecting patients receiving blood transfusions. His research also helped physicians develop HIV therapies to prolong the lives of those infected with the virus.

His discovery in 1996 that a natural compound known as chemokines can block the HIV virus and halt the progression of AIDS was hailed by Science magazine as one of the year's most important scientific breakthroughs. Before the AIDS epidemic, Dr. Gallo was the first to identify a human retrovirus and the only known human leukemia virus - HTLV - one of few known viruses shown to cause a human cancer.

Today, Dr. Gallo's work continues at the Institute of Human Virology, an institute of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which Dr. Gallo helped found in 1996. He previously spent 30 years at the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute, where he was head of its Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology.

For more information about Commencement, contact the Office of Student Affairs at (718) 405-3253, or

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent

Founded in 1847, the College of Mount Saint Vincent is a co-educational, independent institution rooted in the spirit and mission of the Sisters of Charity and committed to the liberal arts. The College’s undergraduate and master’s level degree programs prepare its uncommonly diverse students for lives of professional achievement and service. Visit for more information.

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Erin Walsh
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Christina Gonzalez
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(718) 405-3341