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Funded by UNC alumnus S. Gregory Boyd (MD ’03, JD ’04), the McLendon-Thomas award honors Dr. William McLendon and Dr. Colin Thomas, Jr. It encourages interest and recognizes scholarly excellence in the history of medicine.

The award began in 2008 as an essay competition for UNC-Chapel Hill students and a prize of $500 was given annually for the best unpublished essay on an historical topic in the health sciences. In 2022, Greg Boyd made a generous gift to grow the award. It now supports a 1-3 month research fellowship at Wilson Special Collections Library, home to the Health Sciences History Collection which is part of the Rare Book Collection. $3,000 is awarded for each month a fellow is in residency for up to a $9,000 award.  Recipients of the award are invited to share their research as part of the Wilson Library Research Forum and the Bullitt History of Medicine Club lecture series.

Dr. William W. McLendon served from 1973-1995 at UNC as Director of the Hospital Clinical Laboratories and as Professor and Vice-Chair of Pathology. Since his retirement in 1995 he has been Professor Emeritus of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. An MD graduate of UNC in 1956, he and Bob Whitlock (MD ’57) were the student co-founders in 1954 of the Bullitt History of Medicine Club. Dr. McLendon is the co-author, along with the late Drs. William Blythe and Floyd Denny, of the recently published Bettering the Health of the People: W. Reece Berryhill, the UNC School of Medicine, and the North Carolina Good Health Movement.

Dr. Colin G. Thomas, Jr. (1918-2014) joined the faculty of the UNC School of Medicine in 1952, later becoming the Byah Thomason-Sanford Doxey Professor of Surgery. From 1966-1984 he served as Chair of the Department of Surgery, and from 1984-1989 as Chief of the Division of General Surgery. Dr. Thomas was one of the early faculty members of the Bullitt History of Medicine Club, and is the co-author, along with Mary Jane Kagarise, of the 1997 history, Legends and Legacies: A Look Inside: Four Decades of Surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1952-1993.

Greg Boyd is a partner and Chairman of the Interactive Entertainment department at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz. He considers the history of medicine to be one of the most important aspects of his medical education, and Drs. McLendon and Thomas among the best role models possible. The award was started to highlight that the history of medicine represents a critical perspective and focus on the art of medicine that are necessary for training the best possible physicians, health care executives, and policy makers.