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Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D
Press Statement July 6, 2021

NAACP to Present Prestigious Spingarn Medal to World-Renowned Engineer-Physician-Scientist, Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. at 112th Annual Convention

Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D

BALTIMORE — The NAACP has announced that Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor at the University of Connecticut, will be awarded the prestigious Spingarn Medal during the NAACP's 112th Annual Convention. 

The award recognizes Dr. Laurencin's seminal and singular accomplishments in tissue regeneration, biomaterials science, nanotechnology, and regenerative engineering, a field he founded. His exceptional career has made him the foremost engineer-physician-scientist in the world. His breakthrough achievements have resulted in transformative advances in improving human life. His fundamental contributions to materials science and engineering include introducing nanotechnology into the biomaterials field for regeneration.

"Dr. Laurencin's contribution to furthering humanity's collective achievement in the field of science and engineering is extraordinary," said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP. "As a pioneer of the new field, Regenerative Engineering, he is shaping the landscape of cell-based therapy, gene therapy, and immunomodulation. Named as one of the 100 Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, he has received countless awards for his transformative work. The NAACP is proud to present Dr. Laurencin with our highest recognition and join the chorus of those that realize what his work means globally."

The NAACP Spingarn award was established in 1914 by the late Joel E. Spingarn--then NAACP Chairman of the Board of Directors. It was given annually until his death in 1939. The medal is awarded for the highest or noblest achievement by a living African American during the preceding year or years in any honorable field." Previous Spingarn medal recipients include: Mrs. Daisy Bates (Little Rock Nine), Myrlie Evers-Williams, Earl G. Graves Sr., W.E.B DuBois, George Washington Carver, Charles Drew, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse L. Jackson, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Quincy Jones, and the Honorable Nathaniel Jones.

"I am so blessed and honored to receive this amazing recognition and join the historic ranks of my fellow Spingarn Medal honorees that began its legacy 106 years ago," says Dr. Laurencin.

Laurencin is the first surgeon in history to be elected to all four national academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Inventors. In addition, he is the first person in history to receive the oldest/highest award of the National Academy of Medicine (the Walsh McDermott Medal) and the most senior/highest award of the National Academy of Engineering (the Simon Ramo Founder's Award). In science, he received the Philip Hauge Abelson Prize given 'for signal contributions to the advancement of science in the United States. In technology and inventorship, Laurencin is a laureate of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, America's highest honor for technological achievement, awarded by President Barack Obama at the White House.

Laurencin received his B.S.E in chemical engineering from Princeton University, his M.D., magna cum laude from the Harvard Medical School, and his Ph.D. in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the CEO of The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering.

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Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. 

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund — also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation's first civil and human rights law organization and shares our commitment to equal rights.

 

NAACP Media Contact(s):

Jonah Bryson | JBryson@naacpnet.org

Austyn Ross | ARoss@naacpnet.org

 

 Cato T. Laurencin Media Contact:

Jennifer Walker | jennifer.walker@uconn.edu

 

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