The Wayne State University Alumni Association names 2021 Alumni Awards Honorees

2021 Alumni Award Honorees

DETROIT - The Wayne State University Alumni Association has recognized three alumni as recipients of the 2021 Distinguished Alumni and Homer D. Strong awards.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes individuals who have made a distinct impact in their field and serve as role models to enhance the visibility of Wayne State and the university community. This year, Wayne State is proud to present this award to two honorees: Christopher Wilson ’07, of Tacoma Park, Maryland and Dr. Zhongcong Xie ’94, of Andover, Massachusetts.

Wilson is a leading public historian of the Civil Rights Movement and a visionary museum director who has led the development of innovative programming on African American history at the Smithsonian Institution since 2004. Currently he is the Director of Experience Design at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

Dr. Xie is known internationally for his work on the underlying causes of memory problems following anesthesia and their relationship to Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, he is the Henry Knowles Beecher Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard University and Director, Geriatric Anesthesia Research Unit in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Homer D. Strong Award recognizes individuals who encourage alumni participation and benefit the university through volunteer leadership. This year’s recipient is Wayne State alumna Alice Thompson ’81, of Detroit.

Thompson served as Chief Executive Officer at Black Family Development Inc. (BFDI) for 26 years. She retired in 2020, but remains CEO for the subsidiary BFDI Educational Services. Alice currently serves as the Third Vice President of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP and holds positions on numerous area boards focused on education, workforce development, health, diversity, equity and inclusion, and the revitalization of Detroit.

For more information on each award, and how to submit nominations for these awards in the future, visit

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