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Curtis Harper, PhD, was the first African American faculty member to receive tenure in the Department of Pharmacology in 1981. In addition, Harper also taught and conducted research in toxicology as a member in the Curriculum in Toxicology at UNC.

To celebrate Harper’s contributions to science and society, a three-part documentary series was produced and premiered at UNC Pharmacology’s Inaugural Curtis Harper Symposium 2021, established to honor his life’s many achievements and accolades annually. The documentary series provides a glimpse into the highly accomplished yet selfless life of Harper that will inspire many young scientists through generations.

This year the Curtis Harper Symposium will be held on May 24 at the Medical Biomolecular Research Building, and will feature Namandjé Bumpus, PhD, Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“The Life of Dr. Curtis Harper” – A documentary series:

Part 1 explores Harper’s contributions as a scientist and as UNC Pharmacology’s first African American faculty member to receive tenure.

Part 2 documents Harper’s faith community through his family and friends at the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill.

Part 3 takes us on a journey down his near ones’ memory lanes as they reminisce the wonderful person that was Dr. Curtis Harper.

Concept and Interviews: Nicole Cornett, Student Services Manager, Dept. of Pharmacology

Concept, Videography and Documentary Compilation: Ambalika Khadria, PhD, Science Filmmaker, Dept. of Pharmacology; Founder & Creative Director at KathASK Films, LLC