Pioneering Dentist Gets Honorary Degree

11/05/04
In 1947, Clifton Dummett became the youngest dental dean in the nation. After more than six decades’ service, he’s still on the job, teaching, learning and mentoring.
By Christine Shade
Clifton O. Dummett, distinguished emeritus professor of dentistry at USC.

Photo/Ben Creighton
Clifton O. Dummett, a distinguished emeritus professor of dentistry at USC, received an honorary doctor of science degree at Meharry Medical College’s 129th Fall Convocation in Nashville, Tenn.

Dummett is dean emeritus of Meharry’s School of Dentistry. In 1947, at the age of 28, he became the youngest dental dean in the nation.

Presenting the degree were William Butler, dean of the School of Dentistry, and John E. Maupin Jr., president of Meharry. Dummett was awarded the doctorate for his exemplary 63-year career in dentistry.

An exhibit based upon Dummett’s historical writings, “The Future Is Now,” pays homage to African Americans in dentistry and runs through Nov. 27 at Exposition Park’s California African American Museum.

The traveling exhibit celebrates “hometown heroes” local African American dental pioneers and includes USC alumni John and Vada Somerville.

Dummett served as a special consultant during the creation of the exhibit.