Former Dental Hygiene Program Director, Alberta Beat Dolan passed away at the age of 103. Alberta leaves behind a monumental legacy, as the first dental hygienist appointed to the faculty as Assistant Professor. A native of Kansas and a graduate of Columbia University and the University of Washington, she came to Chapel Hill in January 1953, following several years of dental assisting and seven years of dental hygiene teaching and office practice experience in Kansas, New York City, and Seattle. In 1953, Alberta became the acting Dental Hygiene Program Director where she remained until 1967, before becoming the Director of the Dental Auxiliary Teaching Program in 1968. Alberta authored chapters in Clinical Dental Hygiene (1968) and Comprehensive Review for Dental Hygienist (1965 and 1968), and she served as president of the Supreme Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Honor Society and Vice President (for Auxiliaries) of the American Associate of Dental Schools. Alberta remained a valued faculty member until her retirement in 1981. In the years following, Alberta remained a loyal tar heel through and through — she always enjoyed watching and hearing about the UNC basketball team.
Upon her retirement, alumni and friends of the department worked with the Dental Foundation of North Carolina to establish the Alberta B. Dolan Scholarship in Alberta’s honor. This need-based scholarship is awarded annually, and in perpetuity, to deserving hygiene students. Before the pandemic, one of her favorite things to do was meet the recipients of the scholarship. Alberta’s passion and legacy for the UNC Dental Hygiene Program continue through the program today and through the students her scholarship supports.
Alberta’s last visit to our school was in 2019, during her 100th birthday celebration. It was a wonderful event to honor Alberta and to bring family, friends, faculty, staff, and past alumni together to celebrate her legacy. Alberta had a great time remembering her beginnings at the UNC Adams School of Dentistry. She and her family were truly grateful for the time, effort, and love expressed to her on that day.