A local physician is among 24 North Carolinians in 19 counties appointed to a prestigious leadership initiative.

Dr. Timothy Tolson, an allergy and immunology specialist, has been named to the 2020-22 class of the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, a news release states.

Tolson, who has practices in Elizabeth City and in Kitty Hawk, is an avid gardener and a volunteer with Green $aves Green, a nonprofit environmental group serving the Elizabeth City area, the release states.

The Friday Fellowship is named for its founder, Bill Friday, the longtime president of the University of North Carolina system, who challenged the first class in 1995 to embrace personal and professional growth in the service of all North Carolina residents. Since its beginning, the fellowship has appointed more than 200 North Carolinians as fellows, with human relations at the heart of the fellowship’s mission.

Every two years the fellowship seats professionals from all sectors of business. This year’s recipients represent a total of 19 counties.

“I was amazed at the quality of candidates we interviewed,” stated James Mills, a Rocky Mount resident and Friday Fellow from 2008. “It was tough deciding who to seat.”

The Friday Fellowship will provide Tolson and other class members six 4-day leadership development seminars held over the next two years.

“The learning technologies of the 2020-22 fellowship are deceptively simple: Tell and hear stories. Remember and share things. Journey alone and in community,” said Meredith Doster, deputy director of the Wildacres Leadership Initiative, which created the Friday Fellowship. “To grow leadership capacities, fellows will practice being present to one another. Together, fellows will make and hold space for deep learning and collective transformation.”

The WLI is service of the Wildacres Retreat, a conference center located off the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina.

Hunter Corn, director of WLI, praised the latest class of fellows.

“Each of these individuals has made a choice to step into something not fully known and to be in relationship with those different than themselves,” he stated. “It is these choices that make communities stronger and more resilient. I am grateful for their choices.”