Virus researchers, integration leader among NC Award winners


Coronavirus delta variant. (File/Getty)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Developers of COVID-19 treatments, a champion of public school integration, a folk musician, and authors are among the nine latest recipients of North Carolina’s highest civilian honor.

Gov. Roy Cooper emceed Thursday night’s formal presentation of the North Carolina Awards for 2020 and 2021 at an event held at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The award was created 60 years ago to recognize significant contributions to the state and the country in several fields. Each of the recipients lives or works in North Carolina, or has so previously.

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

This year’s honorees include public service award winner Dudley Flood, a former Department of Public Instruction administrator who worked to desegregate the state’s K-12 schools; and fine arts award winner David Holt, a Grammy Award-winning musician and storyteller emphasizing the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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

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

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