COLUMBUS — Local dentist and Gallia Commissioner Dr. David K. Smith has gifted $50,000 to The Ohio State University College of Dentistry to establish a dental scholarship fund.
A 1983 graduate of the College of Dentistry, Smith’s gift will help support the education of students interested in pursuing a dental career in Gallia County. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a current dental student or undergraduate pre-dental student from Gallia County who is attending or plans to attend The Ohio State University College of Dentistry.
“I have been blessed to be able to pursue a career in a field that I love, and to help the people in my community, which is very important to me,” said Smith. “Establishing this scholarship is my way of ‘paying it forward’ and helping someone else pursue this rewarding profession that I have been so fortunate to have.”
Smith hopes the scholarship will inspire local students to consider a career in dentistry and help him do his part to address the shortage of dentists in the county.
“This generous gift from our loyal alumnus, Dr. Smith, is ultimately an investment in Gallia County,” said Patrick M. Lloyd, dean of the College of Dentistry. “His newly established scholarship fund can potentially attract aspiring dental professionals from the county and aid the College of Dentistry in its work to increase access to dental care in Ohio.”
Acording to Smith, the average dental school graduate is $200,000 in debt. His contribution will be invested and the interest used to continue funding further scholarships. To his knowledge, three Gallia students are currently in dental school across the country. Dental school cost Smith around $50,000 when he attended roughly 34 years ago.
“It’s an expensive challenge to attend dental school,” said Smith. “My ultimate goal, while also giving back to the community, is that I hope someone who attends school will come back and practice in Gallia County. We talk about jobs and younger people leaving the area and it’s my hope that this would bring some of those back.”