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Wilma E. Motley

#OverIt Moment: After a successful career in dentistry and even publishing her own widely-used textbook, “Ethics, Jurisprudence, and History for the Dental Hygienist,” Motley established a scholarship fund in her name to grant money for USC students at the Ostrow School of Dentistry.

Wilma E. Motley was born in 1913. She graduated from USC’s dental hygiene program in 1933 and spent the rest of her life practicing dentistry and establishing further research in the field while also working directly with USC dentistry students. From 1959 to 1972, Motley was a part-time faculty member at USC. Even after she left, she remained committed to students by establishing a scholarship foundation, the Wilma E. Motley Scholarship, to grant money to students wishing to enter the field but lacking the funds to do so themselves. Motley served as a trustee, editor and two-term president of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and the editor of the Journal of Dental Hygiene. Her involvement in medicine, government and education did not go unrecognized: She was awarded the 1996 Hayden-Harris Award from the American Academy of the History of Dentistry and was inducted into the USC School of Dentistry Hall of Fame in 2000.

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