Introducing Learners to Leaders

Six images of School of Dentistry students and donors

The School of Dentistry is proud to embark on a transformational fundraising campaign in support of our students. Learners to Leaders: The Drive for School of Dentistry Students, seeks to fuel the passion and potential of tomorrow’s oral health professionals by increasing the number of scholarships and awards we provide to our students.

To serve the dental workforce needs of Minnesota and beyond—and make the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry a top choice for tomorrow’s dental students—we must be able to offer more scholarship funding today.

Many of our best candidates, regardless of financial need, choose other schools that offer more scholarship support. Many other promising individuals find it difficult to consider our dental school when it can mean taking on an average of $300,000 in student debt—especially when other dental schools provide more robust scholarship offers.

For those who do commit to the U, graduating with significant debt can influence their early career decisions, such as whether they go into academics, research, or work in a community clinic or rural area that may not pay as well as private practice.

When anxieties about student loan debt are removed, students can follow their passions, since their educational path is not dictated by earning potential. New funding for scholarships can encourage students to study and practice where they can improve the oral health of all communities.

By increasing scholarships we can:

  • Recruit and retain the best and the brightest applicants
  • Eliminate financial barriers to student achievement
  • Reduce anxieties about student loan debt
  • Graduate with greater practice options
  • Foster relationships that encourage our graduates to give back to their communities
1000x1000 logo

To advance the Learners to Leaders initiative, we are launching a 1000 X $1000 campaign with the goal of raising $1 million for student support. This campaign invites 1,000 donors to provide a gift of $1,000 each, bringing together donors whose smaller donations can make a significant impact on the future of oral health care professionals in Minnesota and beyond.

The School of Dentistry is also inviting larger donations in the form of endowed scholarships and existing demand-based and endowed funds.

“Student support is a personal priority of mine for the School of Dentistry,” said Dean Keith Mays, DDS, MS, PHD, in a message to alumni and donors about the new initiative. “I invite you, our generous alumni and donors, to join me in creating an enduring opportunity for tomorrow’s oral health professionals.”

More information on how to get involved, plus stories of our donors and scholars, will be available in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, learn more about the Learners to Leaders initiative at