Dental Foundation, Scholarships

David Patterson to Establish Dr. George and Nina Patterson Scholarship Fund

David Patterson’s passion for the profession of dentistry runs in his blood.

“Dentistry was the first and only profession I ever considered,” explains Patterson, who runs his private practice in Alamance, N.C.  Recently, Patterson, a 1982 graduate of the UNC School of Dentistry, and his wife Ruth pledged to establish a student scholarship fund with the Dental Foundation of North Carolina.  The Dr. George and Nina Patterson Scholarship will pay tribute to David’s parents for the generosity and support shown to their family and many former patients.

George Patterson practiced dentistry in Burlington, N.C. from 1954 until his retirement in 1998, and Mrs. Patterson worked alongside both her husband and David.  The Patterson family private practice has been in operation for four generations.  Established in 1891, it was one of the first private dental practices in the Burlington area.

Since then, the profession has become a popular choice for several immediate and extended family members.  There are two other dentists in the family and five hygienists, including David’s wife, Ruth.  David’s son, Stuart, who is currently a second-year DDS student at the School, will be a fifth-generation dentist.

“Many people assume that I joined the dental profession because of my family,” Patterson says. “But in truth, there was never any pressure on their part. My parents have always supported me and my goals in every possible way.”

Although attending dental school was a financial strain on Patterson and his family, he recalls his parents being his biggest supporters during those tough times.

“As you go through life, you begin to recognize people who have influenced you the most in life and given you the necessary support,” Patterson says. “My parents helped establish my practice, despite the financial obligations they faced with four children in college. They have always been very giving people, and I think this scholarship reflects their generosity and encouragement toward the success of others.”

The scholarship also serves as a reflection of his personal experience at the School of Dentistry.

“The UNC School of Dentistry offers a premier education, one of the finest in the world,” he says. “There were several professors and educators who went out of their way to help. This was our way of giving back to an institution that played such a large role in my life.”

Selection of the scholarship recipient will be based on academic performance, demonstrated excellence as a dental clinician, and financial need as demonstrated to the satisfaction of the School’s Director of Admissions and the University’s financial aid representative.  Of the three selection criteria, academic performance and demonstrated excellence as a dental clinician are the most important.  The Dental Foundation of North Carolina Scholarship Selection Committee will choose each year’s recipient.