Dr. Zhang Wenhong to Address the Class of 2021 at NYU Shanghai’s Fifth Commencement

Dr. Zhang Wenhong, the infectious disease expert who is helping to lead Shanghai’s response to COVID-19 and whose bracing candor and good humor reassured millions during the uncertain early days of the pandemic, will deliver the keynote address at NYU Shanghai’s Fifth Undergraduate Commencement at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center on May 25.

Zhang, who serves as the Director of the Department of Infectious Disease at Huashan Hospital affiliated to Fudan University in Shanghai, heads the group of medical experts who closely advise city officials on pandemic control measures. With their guidance, Shanghai, a city of 24 million people, has managed so far to limit locally-contracted cases, prevent community spread, and enable residents to work, go to school, and lead mostly normal lives since late spring last year.  

“I’m honored and delighted to be able to congratulate the members of NYU Shanghai’s Class of 2021 later this year,” Zhang said. “As we all know, defeating this unprecedented pandemic will depend on the cooperation across borders and cultures -- and I hope our Chinese and international graduates will find ways to contribute to this work.”

“Dr. Zhang’s spirit of service, courage, and tireless dedication to public health inspires us all -- he is a perfect role model for our students. We are all looking forward to his address -- and to thanking him in person for all that he has done to make our city safe,” said Chancellor Tong Shijun.

At Commencement, Chancellor Tong and Vice Chancellor Jeff Lehman will present Zhang with the NYU Shanghai Chancellor’s Medal of Honor as a token of our university’s thanks for his extraordinary contributions to the ongoing fight against the virus.

“The NYU Shanghai community has been able to offer live, in-person classes since the end of April last year. We would not have been able to resume normal life so quickly without the wisdom of Dr. Zhang and his colleagues -- so we are all tremendously grateful to him,” said Vice Chancellor Lehman.

“Zhang, a native of Rui’an, Zhejiang province, graduated from Shanghai Medical College in 1993. Soon after, he joined the Department of Infectious Disease at Huashan Hospital. He furthered his education at the University of Hong Kong and Harvard Medical School. 

Over the last year, Zhang’s straightforward, jargon-free explanations and no-nonsense advice at the press conferences have made him a local celebrity. To help strengthen the resolve of millions of Shanghai residents during the lockdown phase of the pandemic, he famously advised, “You won’t be the one who’s bored. The coronavirus will be bored to death if you keep them at home for two more weeks.”