A wonderful gift from a wonderful friend is how Dean Stamm described the recent scholarship established by Linda Tarrson. The E.B. Tarrson Philanthropic Fund of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago has contributed $100,000 to the Dental Foundation of North Carolina to establish a merit-based scholarship in memory of the late Bud Tarrson, one of the School of Dentistry’s most generous benefactors and namesake of Tarrson Hall, the School’s clinical facility. Bud Tarrson passed away on October 5, 1999.
The E. Bud Tarrson Family Scholarship will provide an annual merit-based scholarship to a DDS student who demonstrates satisfactory academic progress, clinical excellence and a commitment to community service. It will provide vital support to worthy students at North Carolina’s only dental school and one of the nation’s leading dental schools while honoring the Tarrson family name in perpetuity.
The Tarrson gift was made as the School celebrated the public kickoff of its Carolina First campaign, an effort to raise at least $30 million to support students, faculty, programs, and facilities at the UNC School of Dentistry. “It was a thrill that the timing coincided with the start of the campaign,” Linda Tarrson said. More than $23 million has been contributed or pledged to the School’s campaign, which runs through June 30, 2007.
Recognizing the growing costs of attending dental school, Linda and Bud’s family decided to establish a merit-based scholarship to take some of the financial burden off of one dental student annually. “You have an obligation to your family and to your community, and that’s how I feel about UNC — it’s like family,” Linda Tarrson said. “I feel the School is tops in the world.”
John Stamm, dean of the School and a longtime friend of the Tarrsons, said, “Bud’s genius lay in bringing preventive dentistry into the modern era, and his vision for dental education was represented by his generous philanthropy to numerous dental institutions, but specifically the UNC School of Dentistry. In his latter years, Bud and his wife, Linda, became true blue.”
Bud Tarrson was the former chairman and chief executive officer of the John O. Butler Company, the Chicago-based maker of toothbrushes, dental floss and other oral hygiene products. He joined the company in 1949, the same year the UNC School of Dentistry was founded. He went on to build Butler into one of the world’s largest and most respected manufacturers of dental products. The company went public in 1984, and four years later it was purchased by a Japanese company.
Linda Tarrson entered the dental industry in 1975 when she joined Butler as executive assistant to the Chief Executive Officer. Linda continues to be involved in dentistry by serving on numerous dental industry and education boards, including the UNC School of Dentistry’s Carolina First campaign honorary advisory committee.
The Tarrsons contributed $2 million to the School in 1992 to help build Tarrson Hall, the $21.6 million clinical teaching facility. The Tarrsons visited in February 1999 for their first tour of the facility. Each year, more than 100,000 patient visits are booked in the School’s student and faculty clinics, which are housed in Tarrson Hall.