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Dental Hygiene program presents first Kelly Scholarships

From left, Dental Hygiene Director Janet Kinney, Alice Ou, Chelsea Holladay and Jennifer Cullen, director of the Dental Hygiene Degree Completion Program.

Dolores (Dee) and Dr. Charles Kelly

Ann Arbor, Mich., Jan. 25, 2017 -– A new Dental Hygiene scholarship was presented Tuesday for the first time to two students at the School of Dentistry.

Chelsea Holladay and Alice Ou are the first to receive scholarships from the Dolores and Charles Kelly Endowed Hygiene Student Scholarship Fund, created last year with a $50,000 gift from the Traverse City couple.

Holladay is completing her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene after earning her Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene at Lansing Community College in 2013. On track to graduate this December, Holladay plans to enter the Peace Corps.  Once that commitment is complete, she will consider applying to the dental school at U-M or pursuing a master’s degree in public health.

“I feel incredibly honored to be the first recipient of this scholarship and I would just like to say thank you to Dr. and Mrs. Kelly for their much-needed support,” Holladay said. “The field of dental hygiene is an important aspect of public health. I am very fortunate to have the support and encouragement of seasoned mentors and colleagues, to further my education and bring positive change to my community.”

Holladay said the scholarship gives her another reason to strive for academic excellence. “I want to make proud those who support my education,” she said. “Having the privilege of an award encourages me to push my educational goals further without hesitation caused by the idea of financial difficulty. Receiving this support now inspires me to show that same support to future students in need. Scholarships not only help the recipient directly, but it fuels the legacy of higher education.”

Ou came to the School of Dentistry in 2015 after earning bachelor’s degrees in general biology and psychology at Penn State University, and a master’s in physiology and biophysics from a joint program between George Mason and Georgetown University.  She will graduate from the School of Dentistry with her bachelor of science in dental hygiene in May 2018.

“I am extremely grateful and excited to be the first recipient of the Kelly Scholarship,” Ou said. “It is an honor to be formally recognized for my academic achievements and activities, and it allows me to focus more of my energies on contributing to the public while I am still attending school.”

She is still considering her career options.  “I intend to work partly in private practice but to also continue contributing to the community either through research, education or as a dental hygienist,” she said. “I am still investigating potential long-term endeavors since my interests are diverse, but I do plan to focus on public health, whether it be through investigating new hypotheses or through the tutelage of others.”

In introducing the awards at a luncheon Tuesday, Janet Kinney, director of the Dental Hygiene program, praised the recipients’ academic records and commitment to dental hygiene.  She also thanked the Kellys for their gift, which will fund two $1,250 awards for DH students each year.

The Kellys’ ties to the School of Dentistry date to the late 1940s when they met and married while students. Dee earned her bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene in 1951 and Chuck graduated with his DDS in 1953.  When the scholarship was announced last fall, Dee Kelly said her idea of helping dental hygiene students arose as she and her husband talked through the details of how their gift would be used. “One of the reasons is that the dentist side of the school is larger and gets more thanks, more gratitude, more everything,” she said. “And I just thought, the hygienists are pretty important to me, too, so if they need scholarship money as much as the dentists, I’d just as soon have the dental hygiene program receive it.  And Chuck agreed.”

Kinney said the gift is important because it is the first large fund designated for bachelor degree student scholarships tied to academic performance and financial need.  Existing award funds are designated for other, more general purposes, including graduating students or master’s degree students. “This is a very significant gift for us in the Dental Hygiene program,” she said. “It is greatly needed and greatly appreciated.”

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The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at: www.dent.umich.edu.

Contact:
School of Dentistry writer Lynn Monson at dentistry.communications@umich.edu, or (734) 615-1971.