Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the National Institutes of Health who may be best known for leading the Human Genome Project (HGP), was the featured speaker during SMU’s 102nd all-University Commencement ceremony, May 20, in Moody Coliseum.

“You need to be prepared for dramatic change,” Collins told the graduates. “Whatever the field, you can’t imagine what it will look like in 10 or 20 years. Your path will not always be smooth. Doors you were counting on may not open. Do you have the strength and foundation to deal with that?”

Collins concluded his Commencement address with a song.

Dr. Collins – whose own personal research efforts led to the isolation of the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome – received the Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa, from SMU during the ceremony.