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NC Community Colleges President Thomas Stith reveals the inaugural recipients of the Samuel M. Taylor Memorial Life Sciences Scholarships.
NC Community Colleges President Thomas Stith reveals the inaugural recipients of the Samuel M. Taylor Memorial Life Sciences Scholarships in 2021.

NCBIO reaches quarter-million-dollar goal for life sciences scholarships

With a significant gift from Amgen, NCBIO has reached its goal of raising $250,000 to create a scholarship fund at the NC Community College Foundation for students pursuing degrees and certifications in the life sciences. The total amount of gifts and pledges now stands at approximately $260,000.

The Samuel M. Taylor Memorial Life Sciences Scholarships are for students enrolled in agricultural biotechnology, biopharmaceutical technology, biotechnology, bioprocess technology, clinical trials research associate, facility maintenance technology and medical laboratory technology programs in the state’s community colleges. The awards honor Sam Taylor, long-time president of NCBIO, the NC Biosciences Organization, who died in 2021 of pancreatic cancer.

“Sam Taylor was a key architect of North Carolina’s world-class biotech ecosystem, which was central to Amgen selecting the Triangle for our new manufacturing site,” said Vice President of Amgen North Carolina Bob Kenyon. “We are humbled to be a small part of his enduring legacy of leadership and partnership.”

In addition to Amgen, leadership gifts have come from Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Biogen and Hatteras Venture Partners.

Grifols, Novo Nordisk, Frankel Staffing Partners, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies and Smith Anderson have also made significant contributions to the scholarship fund.

“We are so grateful to all the organizations and individuals who have stepped up to honor Sam’s legacy,” said NCBIO President Laura Gunter. “Sam wanted North Carolinians to have the educational opportunities and resources needed to have outstanding careers in the life sciences. He knew that an educated and qualified workforce is essential to drive the discovery and innovation for which North Carolina’s industry is known.”

Taylor pushed to create the internationally recognized NCBioImpact training collaborative with the NC Community College System’s BioNetwork program, as well as the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center at North Carolina State University and the Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise program at North Carolina Central University.

Taylor was honored at the March 2022 opening of Wake Tech’s Lilly Science and Technology Center by having the building’s BioWork Lab named for him.

Because the Taylor scholarships have been partially funded, awards have already been made to two classes of Taylor scholars. Five scholarships were awarded in the fall of 2022, and three students received awards in 2021.