The UNC School of Dentistry made history on Wednesday when it received its largest single donation ever with a $27.68 million gift, and was renamed the UNC Claude A. Adams Jr. and Grace Phillips Adams School of Dentistry.
Faculty and students crowded into the West Lobby of the Koury Oral Health Sciences Building to witness a landmark moment for the University. The donation, endowed from the estate of Dr. Claude A. Adams III, will be used in part to create additional scholarship opportunities for students while increasing support for professorships.
In his opening remarks, interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz spoke about the potential of this gift to alter dentistry both on campus and beyond.
“This transformative gift will change the future of dentistry at Carolina and across our state,” Guskiewicz said.
In honor of Adams' gift, the School of Dentistry has been renamed to commemorate his parents. Adams, a Duke University graduate who practiced dentistry in Durham for nearly 25 years, died last year and will leave a lasting memory both through his contributions and personality.
“I was completely charmed by what brought him to this decision,” said Executive Vice Provost and Chief International Officer Ronald P. Strauss. “Which was not the school he went to, but the school that was in the community that he was working in, and the school that was dedicated to the betterment of North Carolina.”
UNC's School of Dentistry is established as one of the most prominent dental programs of its kind, with a number two ranking worldwide by the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2018. The School has alumni in 96 of 100 North Carolina counties, and over half of the dentists in North Carolina have been trained at UNC. With the School of Dentistry thriving, UNC Board of Trustees Chairperson Haywood Cochrane said he is excited about the increased opportunities.
“The dental school is living out our University's mission to be truly of and for the public,” Cochrane said. “Today’s gift will strengthen this commitment and enable the dental school to continue its leadership in innovative health care.”
As a result of the gift bestowed by Adams' estate, the school announced it will increase its campaign fundraising target by $20 million, with an overall goal of raising $70 million.
The gift from Adams is not his first contribution to the University. Adams' previous gifts to the dental school include the creation of scholarships for almost 100 students. Among these scholarships is the Dr. Claude A. Adams Jr. and Ms. Grace P. Adams Scholarship, a highly selective scholarship only awarded to four students per year. Second-year dental student and Adams scholarship recipient Pegah Khosravi-Kamrani plans on using her scholarship to help others similar to the way that the legacy of Adams' has helped her.
“I pledge to use dentistry as a means to better serve others facing dental hardships,” Khosravi-Kamrani said. “And I pledge to always remember that even a quiet, private person can make the world a better place.”
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