Virus researchers, integration leader among NC Award winners

COVID-19 treatment developers, a champion of integration in public schools, a folk musician and writers are among the last nine recipients of North Carolina’s highest civilian honor.

Governor Roy Cooper hosted the official presentation of the North Carolina Awards for 2020 and 2021 Thursday night at an event at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The award was created 60 years ago to recognize significant contributions to the state and to the country in several areas. Each of the recipients lives, works, or has done so in North Carolina.

The 2020 recipients are the Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins; Ralph Baric, coronavirus researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Kizzmekia Corbett, originally from North Carolina and now a faculty member at Harvard University. All three were honored for their work on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

This year’s winners include Public Service Award winner Dudley Flood, a former Education Department administrator who worked on the desegregation of the state’s K-12 schools; and fine arts award winner David Holt, a Grammy-winning musician and storyteller who focuses on the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Literature awards went to teacher and historian Timothy Tyson, known for writing books on race and civil rights, including “Blood Done Sign My Name” and longtime writer and fashion editor André Leon Talley.

Another public service recipient for 2021 is Maria Spaulding, a government administrator in health, human services and natural resources who helped develop the North Carolina Zoo; and this year’s science award winner is Blake Wilson, a professor at Duke University and a former Research Triangle Institute researcher who helped develop the cochlear implant.

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