In 1996, Centre College recognized Dr. George Tams Curlin, ’61, with its distinguished alumnus award for his support of Centre College and his outstanding record of professional achievement in the fight against infectious diseases and support of public health.
For his entire career, Dr. George Curlin, now retired, was an international leader in the fight against infectious disease. In 2020, The Scroll asked Dr. Curlin about his experience and he shared this reminder:
Dr. Curlin encourages, “The current coronavirus pandemic is a grim reminder of the continuing threat of infectious diseases in which dedicated public health officials and healthcare providers depend on the vigilance and cooperation of the public.”
While at Centre College, Brother Curlin majored in chemistry and served as president of Phi Beta Chi science honorary society. He was a Dean’s List student and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, the leadership honorary. As member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, Brother Curlin also served on the Interfraternity Council and on the staffs of Olde Centre and the Cento. But his greatest accomplishment at Centre was convincing Peggy McDowell that he was worth spending some time with.
Upon graduation, Curlin completed medical school at Vanderbilt University. After a residency at the University of Kentucky Hospital, he joined the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer. George then continued his training in internal medicine and infectious diseases, epidemiology, and public health at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Since then George has held several research and administrative positions dealing with infectious diseases and public health, including: director of the epidemiology division of the Cholera Research Laboratory in Dacca, Bangladesh; chief of the epidemiology and biometry branch of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and director, office of health, United States Agency for International Development. George retired as medical officer and medical science advisor in the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health after 43-years of service in the US public health service.
A respected epidemiologist, Curlin is recognized as one of the world’s leading researchers on the relationship between infectious diseases and population growth in the developing world. His work, particularly that focusing on children, has been named Fellow of the Infections Disease Society of America.
In addition, Dr. Curlin is a loyal and supportive Centre alumnus. He has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, in the Admission Matching Program, and as a member of the Parents Committee. George has also been active in Centre efforts in the Washington DC area.