Dr. William Petri to deliver School of Osteopathic Medicine commencement address

Dr. William Petri

William A. Petri, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the Wade Hampton Frost Professor of Epidemiology, will deliver the commencement address at the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine’s Spring 2022 Commencement Exercises, scheduled for 10 a.m. on May 12 in Buies Creek.

Petri was born and raised primarily in Washington, D.C., with a brief stint with his family in London during childhood. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied chemistry and music, before moving to Charlottesville in 1976 to start medical and graduate school at UVA. After obtaining his MD and PhD in microbiology, he married his medical school classmate Mary Ann McDonald at the University Chapel, and they moved to Cleveland where he completed his residency in internal medicine at Case Western Reserve University. They returned to UVA for Petri’s infectious diseases fellowship, and he became an assistant professor in 1988. He has been there ever since.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe awarded Petri the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award in 2014 and the Virginia Outstanding Scientist Award in 2017. The University of Virginia recognized him in 2021 with the Thomas Jefferson Award. He has served as president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and is the recipient of the Oswald Avery Award of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Kean Medal of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the Finland Award of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. He has worked at the University continuously for more than 30 years as a physician, scientist and educator.

In January 2020, he was among the first in Charlottesville to realize the impending threat of COVID-19. He shifted his work to pursue understanding of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. He led the UVA site of the study of anti-coronavirus antibody treatment that showed effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 in household contacts, launched an FDA-approved clinical trial of an allergy medicine called Dupilumab to prevent respiratory failure, and is developing a needle-free intranasal vaccine. Public education has also been a major part of his effort to combat COVID-19, both on-line with over 9 million readers at “The Conversation” and through public outreach on radio and TV. Finally, he cares for patients with the infection working on the inpatient ward for COVID-19 at UVA Hospital.

He and Mary Ann have raised five children in Charlottesville, and as they have left the nest, his interests have shifted from coaching their soccer teams (36 seasons) to a return to music (trombone) and a new interest in running, including training for the San Diego Marathon this fall, which will be his eighth.

“I am certainly excited to have Dr. Petri deliver the 2022 commencement address,” said Dr. Brian A. Kessler, dean of the school of osteopathic medicine. “The CUSOM family is honored to receive wise words from an accomplished research scholar, and I am confident Dr. Petri’s professional activities,  scientific endeavors, and international outreach will leave a lasting impact on our graduates.”