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The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled

Dr. William Edwards dabbled in other medical fields before settling on the dentistry profession. "People ask me, with a degree in psychology and a master's in counseling, how I could end up dentistry," Dr. Edwards said. "And I say, 'Well, teeth are in people's heads.'"

After graduating from Clemson in 1972 with a psychology degree, Dr. Edwards went on to get his master's in counseling from the University of South Carolina in 1980. Upon completing his second degree, Dr. Edwards worked as a psychologist in a children's program at Georgia Regional Hospital. He later returned to his roots and helped with the family hardware business, started by his grandfather and his grandfather's brothers.

"My dad, who was in the class of 1938 at the Citadel, had to leave six months before graduating when his uncle passed away," Dr. Edwards recalled. "My grandfather said to him, 'John, if you have any plans to return to Johnston in the family business, we need you now."

Although their family needed his father to sustain the business, Dr. Edwards realized that his father might have chosen another career path, if he had been given the opportunity. One day Dr. Edwards asked his father what else he might have pursued, and his father told him he had considered becoming a dentist.

"Well," Dr. Edwards replied, "I am, too."

His father assured Dr. Edwards that their family would support him. Dr. Edwards said the values that his family instilled in him played a significant role in shaping the person he became.

A few years ago, he chose to honor his father and mother by dedicating a simulation laboratory station at the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine. Most recently, Dr. Edwards has chosen to continue his giving and further honor his parents at the college by establishing an endowment with a gift from his estate.

"When I think of MUSC, I think of growing men and women in a vocation that will provide an opportunity to give back to society in a positive, caring way," Dr. Edwards said.

Dr. Edwards' contribution will benefit the dental school for many years, just as the college has left a lasting impression on him.

"Walking through the dental school brings back memories of faculty and friends that still mean a lot to me today," he said. "Times were sometimes tough, but there were many good times that will last in my memories forever."

If you are interested in learning more about making a planned gift, check out our Giving Guide. For more information, please contact Natalie Hahn at 843-792-0002 or Hahn@musc.edu.