History-making dental alumna is namesake for new scholarship to support diverse dental student population

June 15, 2022
Dorothea Taylor, D.M.D., CODM Class of 1983

Meet Dorothea Taylor, D.M.D., a graduate of the Class of 1983 and the namesake of the newest scholarship created to benefit students at the MUSC James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine.

In honor of the college’s first African American female graduate, the Dr. Dorothea G. Taylor Dental Alumni Association Scholarship will be awarded to an underrepresented minority dental student for each year of study in good academic standing.

Taylor knows firsthand the importance of scholarship support.

Know that MUSC will do a great job of preparing you.
-Dorothea Taylor, D.M.D.

“I wanted to be self-sufficient,” she recalls of her inspiration to go into dentistry. “I wanted a profession where I could take care of myself and any children I might have.”

However, after earning her undergraduate biology degree with honors, she learned that her parents would not be able to extend their financial support through dental school.

“It was the best and worst thing they ever did for me,” she said.

She took the initiative to find other resources and received a scholarship for students who planned to practice in rural dentistry, which covered half of her tuition.

“MUSC did a great job of preparing me for private practice, for life after school,” she said. “We did different clinics and rotations, which was great exposure for someone who wanted to go into rural practice, where you see some of everything. I actually knew people who went to school elsewhere and graduated without ever having pulled a tooth. Those last two years of clinical experience at MUSC were very good preparation.”

Today, Taylor runs dental practices in Aiken and Ridge Spring, South Carolina.

With over 30 years of experience practicing in her community, her top two pieces of advice for dental students today are to pay attention in class and to get to know the business side of running a practice.

“You are taught so well at MUSC how to practice dentistry,” she explained. “There is also the business side, and if you want to go into private practice, you need to know how to do that. MUSC did a great job in preparing us, so in my first few years of practice, I was able to focus on learning the business side of things.”

“I give my props to MUSC. They did an absolutely wonderful job in preparing me for practice after school. You can always still learn things, but I was in a position to walk in through my door and start practicing dentistry and I knew how to do it.”

Taylor hopes that the scholarship will give current students the same thorough education and confidence that she experienced.

“I always want to give 100% to my patients,” she says. “I want to make sure that I know what I’m doing and how to do it.”

The Dorothea G. Taylor Alumni Association Scholarship was established in 2020 with a $50,000 gift from the MUSC Alumni Association, and as part of the single largest donation MUSC has received for Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving held annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving.

If you would like to contribute to student scholarships, please visit our giving portal or contact Stephanie Oberempt, development director, at 843-345-8579 or oberempt@musc.edu.