Colgate-Palmolive and Harvard School of Dental Medicine establish scholarship to support underrepresented minority dental students

Colgate-Palmolive Company and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) has announced a major gift that will initiate the endowed Freeman, Grant, Franklin Scholarship, which supports students from underrepresented, minority groups to pursue their Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree.

The Freeman, Grant, Franklin Scholarship pays tribute to prominent African American figures in HSDM’s history: Robert Tanner Freeman, George Franklin Grant, and Dolores Mercedes Franklin.

Freeman in 1869 was the first African American in the United States to graduate from a dental school; Grant became the first African American faculty member of Harvard University as well as the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 1884. Franklin was the first African American woman to graduate from HSDM.

Colgate’s contribution of $210,000 has enabled the scholarship’s activation. The first scholarship will be awarded to a student beginning in the 2021 academic year and continue on an annual basis, helping HSDM to admit the best and brightest students regardless of their financial means.

“Increasing diversity among the dental profession is critical to our goal of realising a cavity-free future for all,” said Noel Wallace, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Colgate-Palmolive. “With a brand that is in more homes than any other, Colgate understands our opportunity and responsibility to make oral health more equitable and accessible around the world. From the products we develop to our longstanding ‘Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures’ community programme to scholarships like this, we are determined to build a healthier and brighter future for people everywhere.”

Despite representing more than one-third of the US population, Black and Hispanic dentists and those who identify as another race or ethnicity only represent a combined nine percent of professionals in the industry, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).

“The Harvard School of Dental Medicine has a long legacy of embracing diversity. Colgate’s generous support will help further our ethos to promote greater diversity, inclusion, and belonging in dental education and in oral health research,” said William Giannobile, dean of the HSDM. “It enables us to take another important step toward providing the much-needed financial resources for our under-represented students to pursue their dreams in oral healthcare delivery.”

Colgate is dedicated to serving as a leader in global diversity, equity, and inclusion in the consumer-packaged goods industry and in the communities the company serves around the world. As an ally for positive change for underserved and underrepresented groups, the company is committed to the continued support of its partner organisations and to taking actions that champion a more equitable future.