Dental Student Surprised with Scholarship Says it Was 'An Answer to Prayer'

Melissa Varner
September 19, 2022
Madison Sharp smiles with his scholarship award he received during his White Coat Ceremony for the MUSC James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine.

A Generous Giving Tuesday Gift Made it Possible

Madison Sharp's eyebrows shot to the top of his forehead. He was shocked and a little overwhelmed.

If he heard correctly, the speaker at the podium just said he'd been named the 2022 recipient of the Elizabeth P. Waters Scholarship, and that this year the award was $10,000. The scholarship is supported by the MUSC Alumni Association, which arranged to surprise Madison during his White Coat Ceremony for the MUSC James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine.

"I was just absolutely surprised and super, super thankful," Madison said. "When I spoke to my wife afterwards, she and my mom were tearing up."

Scholarship support is incredibly important to Madison and his wife Kate, who's working and supporting him through dental school. "Everything that I'm able to do and that the Lord blesses us with to support dental school is incredibly important to us," he said. "Really, this was an answer to prayer."

Every scholarship Madison earns helps him avoid taking on additional debt to pay for his next two years of dental school. Paying back loans is something every MUSC student thinks about, he said. "So, every bit of support, every bit that I can decrease the amount of loans I'm taking out is an incredible blessing."

More than 80 percent of students at the College of Dental Medicine depend on financial aid to help pay for their educations. They're not alone. Increased scholarship support is an urgent need at all MUSC colleges.

In recognition of this need, the Alumni Association made a generous gift to a scholarship that benefits all MUSC students: the Elizabeth P. Waters Alumni Scholarship. On Giving Tuesday 2021, a global day of giving held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the association gave $250,000 to the scholarship. Because of the generosity of MUSC's alumni, Madison and all future recipients of the Waters Scholarship will receive $10,000 – four times the amount awarded last year.

"To all the MUSC alumni who were so generous on Giving Tuesday, it's really hard for me to express my gratitude," Madison said. "A lot of times when you think about MUSC alumni, you just think about your own college. It's really cool to see all MUSC alumni working together. And I'm incredibly grateful for that."