Commencement 2021

April 13, 2021

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Dr. Ali Nouri ’97 Selected as Reed’s Commencement Speaker

Reed College is pleased to announce that Dr. Ali Nouri, a Reed graduate from the class of 1997, will present the commencement address to the class of 2021. Nouri plays a key role in President Biden’s response to the global climate crisis in the department of energy as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.

photo of Doctor Ali Nouri

A molecular biologist by training, Nouri recently served as the president of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), where he led an initiative to combat the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. He partnered with top research universities around the globe to create the “Ask A Scientist” platform, which debunked viral rumors and provided scientific information about the origins, symptoms, and treatment of the novel coronavirus.

At Reed, Nouri majored in biology. He went on to earn a PhD in molecular biology at Princeton University. “I’m a big believer in a liberal arts education because it gives you tools you can apply to just about any career,” Dr. Nouri told Reed.

Political turmoil in his native Iran compelled Nouri's family to immigrate to Oregon when he was 11. As a science student, he never considered a career in politics, but he found his calling in public policy, serving as a staffer in the United States Senate and working as an advisor in the office of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan before joining the FAS to address matters of global health and security.

Reed’s Commencement ceremony is Monday, May 17, 2021, at 11 a.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ceremony will be held in person for graduates and faculty members, but all others will join virtually. Nouri will speak from Reed’s campus.