Get to Know Cedric Wilson, Winner of a Joseph R. Biden Lifetime Achievement Award

Headshot of Cedric Wilson, Winner of a Joseph R Biden Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I’ve always believed that when you do good and act in service, that you don’t do it for recognition,” says Cedric Wilson, executive director of the Diagnostic Imaging and Anatomic Pathology and Clinical Laboratories at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. Wilson has volunteered more than 8,000 hours—a figure that adds up to almost 11 full months. “You’ve got to do something in your spare time, so you might as well make it count, right?” he says. “Service is what I’ve always believed in.”

While Wilson certainly wasn’t doing it for the glory, his commitment to volunteering led to his earning the 2023–2024 Joseph R. Biden Lifetime Achievement Award, which is the highest honor in the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) program. During the ceremony in Washington, D.C., President Biden live-streamed a speech for the recipients. “I was completely humbled and overwhelmed by getting this honor, and hearing from President Biden sent me over the top,” says Wilson.

His commitment to living a life of service began when he was 9 years old. When Wilson was a child in Texas, his mother took him with her to volunteer at local homeless shelters, giving food to underprivileged people. “Every weekend that I didn’t have a sports game, that’s what I did,” he says. He has continued to model his mother’s core values by helping others ever since. In high school and college, Wilson took on his first mentoring role as the captain of various sports teams. “Part of the responsibility of being a captain was to develop, inspire, and teach younger members of the team, and that really stuck with me,” he says.

Headshot of Cedric Wilson in the U.S. Air Force.

Wilson’s passion for serving others is what drew him to health care and to serving his country in the Air Force. For an impressive 21 years, he tirelessly worked in the medical field, leading by example as a first sergeant in 10 different military assignments, and serving as a medical superintendent in Air Forces Europe. His exemplary service and commitment to excellence led him to retire as a master sergeant.

Through his time in the military, Wilson volunteered as a mentor or assistant coach at a middle school or high school near every place he was stationed. He connected most with young men who didn’t have fathers in their lives and talked about the importance of self -confidence and how to create a life plan. “Coaches play a valuable role for kids who don’t have fathers,” he says. “Young boys need to see someone modeling a way of life that makes them believe they can do it, too.”

Wilson currently spends at least 15 hours volunteering a week. He continues to connect with young men around career planning and goal setting. “I like to share my belief that education is the key to success—and you can define success however you want to,” he says. “The other main principle I share is to be kind. The world needs kindness as much as it needs the essentials.”

Wilson is actively involved and committed to supporting veterans with PTSD and helping them adjust to civilian life. Additionally, he’s dedicated to positively impacting his community, volunteering with the Court Appointed Special Advocates-CASA, mentoring young people through the Kappa League program, and working with the Congressional Black Caucus to improve the lives of others.

Serving others is a focus for Wilson in his position at Stanford Children’s, too. He’s part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee and regularly participates on panels discussing ways to combat health disparities. And, of course, he serves children and their families every day. “It’s a privilege to do the work we do and to embrace a professional calling that’s centered around service,” he says. “When you walk in this hospital every day and see kids and families, you believe you’re in your purpose. And when you’re in your purpose, or your passion, it’s not work. It’s about feeling like you make a difference.”

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3 Responses to “Get to Know Cedric Wilson, Winner of a Joseph R. Biden Lifetime Achievement Award”

  1. Nella Kapahu

    Thank you for your service, Cedric. Your passion for your follow man/woman is admirable as is your willingness to support, motivate and mentor others.

    Reply
  2. Becki Perkins

    We in Radiology are inspired by Cedric every day, he leads by example and kindness and therefore we do as well. It is a privilege to work with him and learn from him.

    Reply

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