CDC director Cohen, former Reps. Butterfield and Price to receive North Carolina Award next month

Published 11:06 am Saturday, October 28, 2023

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Two former members of Congress, the state’s top health official during the COVID-19 pandemic, a sculptor, a poet and a sports franchise executive are this year’s recipients of North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, officials announced.

The North Carolina Award, which was created over 60 years ago to recognize significant contributions to the state and the country in several fields, will be presented by Gov. Roy Cooper to this year’s six winners on Nov. 9.

The award in science is going to Dr. Mandy Cohen, who served as Cooper’s state Health and Human Services secretary from 2017 through 2021 and is now director for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She was the public face of the state’s coronavirus response during 2020 and 2021 as a regular participant in televised news conferences.

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Democratic U.S. Reps. G.K. Butterfield and David Price, who are recipients in the public service category, both served long periods on Capitol Hill before their announced retirements at the end of 2022.

Butterfield, a Wilson native, is also a former judge, state Supreme Court associate justice and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Until stepping down from Congress, Price represented the 4th Congressional District in the Raleigh-Durham area for all but one term since 1987.

Fred Whitfield, another public service award recipient, is president and vice chairman of Hornets Sports & Entertainment, which owns the NBA franchise in Charlotte and operates Spectrum Center.

This year’s fine arts prize will go to Patrick Dougherty, a sculptor and environmental artist who grew up in Southern Pines. The literature prize will be awarded to Marsha White Warren, a member of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame and former executive director of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.