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Many experience the return to their high school alma mater for a reunion at least once, but last week, Dr. George W. Roberts, Tuskegee University’s first gentleman, made a once-in-a-lifetime return to Miami Edison High School for a special honor. Roberts, a Miami, Florida, native and 1973 Miami Edison graduate, was inducted into the school’s hall of fame.
The ceremony on Friday, Oct. 25 was the school’s third hall of fame induction ceremony. This year’s class included 18 new inductees in addition to Roberts, who attended the school from 1969 until he graduated in 1973. As a Miami Edison “Red Raider,” he was a four-year member of the school’s chorus, a member of the Bowling Team, and featured in Who’s Who in America.
After graduating from Miami Edison, Roberts went on to study at Morehouse College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1978. He continued his studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he earned a doctorate in psychology — and met his future wife, President Lily D. McNair, during his graduate studies. Before joining the CDC, he served on the faculty of the State University of New York at New Paltz.
A social psychologist, public health scientist and senior administrator, Roberts retired from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016 after a career that spanned 23 years with the agency. He worked to develop national policies, programs and public-private partnerships that reduced health disparities, promoted equitable health outcomes, and improved access to healthcare for vulnerable populations heavily affected by disease and death — especially women, people of color and those with HIV/AIDS.
During his CDC career, Roberts was heavily involved with the National Association of Black Psychologists, which bestowed on him its Scholarship Award. In addition to his many professional accolades, he received the Award for Outstanding Achievement in HIV/AIDS Advocacy from the South Carolina African American HIV/AIDS Council, the National AIDS Education and Services for Minorities Award for Contributions to the Progress of African American Men United Against AIDS, and the National AIDS Education and Services for Minorities’ Gerald A. Ludd Lifetime Award for HIV Prevention and Community Service.
Roberts combined his career focus with community activities and board participation in areas such as research, youth development, health and human relations. Some of his notable activities include serving as a board member and board secretary for Atlanta-based Men Stopping Violence, coordinating Ebenezer Baptist Church’s AIDS Ministry and co-chairing its Ebenezer Brotherhood organization.
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