George Hatem, the son of poor Lebanese immigrants, moved with his family from Buffalo, NY to Greenville in the 1920s. Attending local high school and U.N.C. Chapel Hill, George studied to become a doctor. With the coming of the depression and its resulting lack of jobs for those in the medical profession, George went to Lebanon to attend medical school at the American University in Beirut. Following his graduation from both American University and the University of Geneva in Switzerland, Dr. Hatem traveled to China where he helped in the eradication of venereal disease in Shanghai and Beijing. During the Communist Revolution, he examined and made acquaintance with Mao Tse - tung, who made Hatem an advisor to the Chinese Ministry of Public Health. Over the next 55 years, Dr. Hatem made China his home, returning occasionally to Greenville to visit with family and friends. Through his efforts to eradicate venereal disease and leprosy in China, he was the recipient of several awards including the Albert Lasker Public Service Award. Dr. George Hatem died in 1988 in Beijing following a ten - year battle with cancer.