Merck has been selected as this year’s winner of the Jim and Carolyn Hunt Friend of Education Award. The award will be presented by the Wilson Education Partnership (WEP) at the 3rd annual Community Partners Celebration Breakfast on June 9.
The Hunt Award was established in 2014 by WEP to thank and recognize those who make significant contributions to public education in Wilson County. The award was presented to the first honorees, Governor and Mrs. James B. Hunt, Jr., to commemorate the 25th anniversary of WEP. Other winners include BB&T in 2015 and Christy Proctor in 2016.
Merck has been a long-time community partner with Wilson County’s public schools. Since the Wilson facility opened in 1983, the company has provided financial contributions, volunteer manpower, leadership support, and other donations to individual schools and to WEP.
In the late 1980’s when the Wilson County Education Foundation and the Chamber’s Business and Education Partnership (fore-runners of WEP) were established, Merck was integrally involved in both organizations. As these two groups merged to create WEP in 1987, Merck provided significant leadership and financial support to provide a strong foundation for WEP. Merck was a champion for the Adopt-A-School Program, and proudly adopted Darden-Vick Middle School for several years as part of the company’s efforts to enhance education in Wilson County.
Literacy has always been a major educational focus for Merck. The Merck Company Foundation presented $42,000 to WEP in 1998 to purchase books and software for the Accelerated Reader Program. In later years, Merck provided employees time on-the-job to serve as reading tutors in several schools for the HOSTS program.
Merck pledged financial support to the first Back-to-School Fair in 2012 and has been the presenting sponsor ever since for that community event. In addition to financial support, the company has donated hundreds of man hours to help the school district shop for school supplies, to fill backpacks, and to distribute backpacks to students at the event each August.
Merck is consistently engaged in the work of WEP, supporting the Board of Directors and numerous programs including Job Shadowing, Career Days, Teacher Externships, educational tours and the Adult Spelling Bee. Merck awarded a $25,000 Neighbor of Choice Grant to WEP to support college and career readiness activities and health and wellness initiatives.
The Wilson Education Partnership is proud to present the 2017 Jim and Carolyn Hunt Friend of Education Award to Merck in recognition of the company’s long-standing commitment to providing the best schools possible for students and teachers in Wilson County.