Friends of MUSC raises more than $100,000 for minority scholarships

Stephanie Oberempt
January 21, 2021
George McTeer
Dr. George McTeer

On Nov. 19, 2020, the Friends of MUSC Minority Scholarship Committee, co-chaired by Felicia L. Goins, D.D.S., Howard University Class of ’83, and Benetta G. Bell, D.M.D., Class of ’85, teamed up with the MUSC Dental Alumni Association to host Cocktails and Commitments, a virtual fundraiser for the Dr. George C. McTeer Scholarship Fund. So far, more than $120,000 in gifts and pledges have been committed to the college’s minority dental scholarship fund.

During the event, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn surprised guests with a video thanking them for their hard work. Clyburn also recognized the continuing need for private support to reduce student debt load. Provost Lisa Saladin confirmed the Medical University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and Dean Sarandeep Huja pledged to continue to increase scholarship funding while keeping tuition levels as low as possible. Members of the college’s chapter of the Student National Dental Association thanked supporters for helping them become oral health care providers for their communities. The late Dr. McTeer’s daughter, Sonja, shared how meaningful her father’s scholarship fund is to their family and how proud he was of the students he mentored.

Dr. McTeer's Class Photo

George C. McTeer Sr., Class of 1974, was the first African American to graduate from the college. For more than 40 years, McTeer served as a role model for minority dental students and helped many matriculate through the dental program at MUSC. Since 2009, the Friends of MUSC Minority Scholarship Committee has been working to keep his legacy alive and has secured nearly $500,000 for various minority scholarships. As part of the college’s Pay It Forward Scholarship Campaign, the volunteer group has committed to permanently endowing the McTeer Fund at the $1 million level, which will provide a full scholarship to a minority dental student. “By reaching back and remembering pioneers like Dr. George McTeer, we can help pave the way forward for a deserving future dentist,” said Bell.

Research shows that racial/ethnic diversity among health professionals is linked to improved access to care, greater patient choice and satisfaction, and better patient-provider communication for racial/ethnic minority patients. Because people of color have the highest burden of dental disease in our country, it is concerning that there is little racial/ethnic diversity in oral health professions. MUSC plays a crucial role in promoting workforce diversity in the dental profession, which becomes an essential component of any strategy to address oral health care disparities in our state. “Graduates of the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine should reflect the diversity of our great state and the populations they will serve,” Goins said. “We must support financially those students who desire to attend MUSC and are willing to serve their communities with the highest quality of dental health.”

If you would like to contribute to the McTeer Fund, please go to If you would like more information about establishing a scholarship in your name, contact the college’s development director Stephanie D. Oberempt at or 843-792-6933.

About the Author

Stephanie Oberempt
Director of Development and Alumni Affairs

Keywords: Philanthropy, Scholarships