Rex Card grew up as one of seven children of a father who worked hard to provide for his family. Card’s father had such pride in being able to provide for his family that he hesitated to fill out applications for financial need when it came time for Rex Card to enter North Carolina State University in 1972. So Rex’s father made a deal with him. His father would pay the tuition if Rex would cover the remaining costs, which included room and board.
Card excelled at NCSU, making good grades and working in the summers to follow through with the agreement he made with his father. After graduating from NCSU, he moved a few miles west on Highway 54 to enter the UNC School of Dentistry.
“To help put myself through dental school, I had a scholarship with the NC Department of Human Resources requiring that I work one year in an underserved area for each year I received the scholarship,” Card recalls.
Card enjoyed the instruction of his professors and became an active member of the Delta Delta Sigma dental fraternity. He graduated in 1980 and worked for a dental practice in Franklinton to repay his scholarship before moving back to his hometown of Raleigh and opening a private practice in 1985.
Even when he was a DDS student, Cards says he knew in the back of his mind that he would give back to the School one day. “I felt a sense of duty and obligation to give something back,” Card says.
For 20 years now, Card has fulfilled his vision of sharing with the School by making annual contributions to the Dental Foundation of North Carolina. He also has given back by serving as president of the Dental Alumni Association in 2002-03. And recently, he pledged to contribute $20,000 over five years to establish the Dr. Rex B. Card Scholarship for DDS students who exhibit leadership skills and academic excellence.
“I wanted to give back to the School and my profession. I think it is still important to give now even before I reach the financial security of retirement. I take each day one day at a time and trust in the Lord,” he said.
Card’s philanthropy carries over to his church and other organizations. He has held numerous leadership positions in professional dental organizations, including his stint as president of the UNC-CH Dental Alumni Association, president of the NC Academy of General Dentistry, president of the NC Fourth District Dental Society, past chairman of the Board of Trustees of the NC Dental Society, and secretary/treasurer-elect of the NC Dental Society.
When he is not practicing dentistry, he enjoys playing golf, hunting, fishing, gardening and coin collecting. He currently resides in Wake Forest with his wife, Lynda. One of their children attends NC State and the other is enrolled in the UNC School of Nursing.
By Carmen Woodruff