Professor Kenneth Carter was honored with the Percy Julian Medal in a ceremony at the 39th Annual Conference of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), September 27th, in Washington, DC. The Percy Julian award is NOBCChE's most prestigious award, established in 1975 to honor his legacy and highlight the accomplishments of the premier scientists of the day. The Medals Ceremony was held to honor all Percy Julian winners since the award's inception 37 years ago. Carter won the award in 2007. The ceremony honored 15 of the previous award winners at a luncheon presided by the direct descendants of Percy L. Julian.
Percy L. Julian (April 11, 1899 - April 19, 1975) was an American research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants. He was the first to synthesize the natural product physostigmine; and was a pioneer in the industrial large-scale chemical synthesis of the human hormones, steroids, progesterone, and testosterone, from plant sterols such as stigmasterol and sitosterol. His work would lay the foundation for the steroid drug industry's production of cortisone, other corticosteroids, and birth control pills. During his lifetime he received more than 130 chemical patents. Julian was one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate in chemistry. He was the first African-American chemist inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, and the second African-American scientist inducted from any field.