Meet the donors
Four Ostrow alumni endow scholarships to help future generations of dental students pursue their dream careers.
BY BREANNE GRADY MCM ’10, JOHN HOBBS MA ’14 & YASMINE PEZESHKPOUR MCM ’16
This year, as Ostrow held its Friends of Dentistry Scholarship Recognition Dinner — an annual event that brings scholarship recipients face-to-face with their benefactors — there were four new faces among the donors.
Drs. Bradley Baum, Jerald Medway and Gary and Jay Solnit — all Ostrow alumni — established scholarships at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry during the past year. Though their reasons for doing so are different, each helps Ostrow dental students focus a little more on their studies and a little less on paying bills.
Ostrow’s current scholarship endowment sits at more than $40 million. As part of its $115 million initiative for the Campaign for the University of Southern California, Ostrow intends to increase its endowment to $55 to $60 million to help ensure no promising future dental professional has to choose another career because of the cost of dental education.
Dr. Bradley Baum
Baum Family Endowed Scholarship
Like many dental legacies, Dr. Bradley Baum chose to follow in his father Alfred T. Baum’s professional footsteps after seeing firsthand the lifestyle it afforded him.
“I saw what a great and fulfilling life my dad led, and I wanted to achieve that for myself,” he says.
Baum, who considers his career and life to be “charmed,” credits his happiness to his dental education at Ostrow.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t use something I learned from my mentors,” he says, citing among them professors Richard Kahn DDS ’64, Harry Dougherty, Keith Tanaka and Don Tuverson DDS ‘56, his father’s partner in private practice.
After his father passed away in January 2015, Baum wanted to find a way to have his dad’s name live on forever at Ostrow, where Alfred taught for more than a decade.
“My family’s motto has been to ‘pay it forward,’ Baum says. “That’s why I felt a scholarship in honor of my father would be fitting.”
In April 2015, Baum started the Baum Family Endowed Scholarship, which will award a graduate orthodontic student with a scholarship based on merit and need.
“I hope that the scholarship will support the next generation of orthodontists like my father wanted to do as a professor,” he says.
“It’s a way to give back so that my father’s name will live on in perpetuity at the school that did so much for my family and for the joy it has brought to my career.”
Dr. Jerald Medway
Jerald M. Medway, DDS Endowed Scholarship
Jerald Medway DDS ’66 knows what it’s like to struggle to pay tuition.
Having come from a hard-working, lower middle class family, Medway worked odd jobs — newspaper delivery, candy factory work — to help with costs. His parents, owners of a small dress shop in Los Angeles, scrounged together enough money to send him to dental school.
“I don’t know how they did it,” he says, “but they did.”
Now retired, Medway has found a passion in helping underserved kids afford college.
“Education lays the groundwork for the best foundation for self-fulfillment, happiness and the ability to give back to society,” he explains.
Medway volunteers with several organizations that empower disadvantaged youth with education. He also mentors international students, including one from Bulgaria, who was able to get a scholarship and eventually earn a PhD in geology from USC.
“He would not have been able to do this without help in that way,” Medway says of mentoring the student. “For this level of student who has no income and no support, it’s a game changer.”
This spring, Medway established the Jerald Medway, DDS Endowed Scholarship at Ostrow.
“The best thing I can do is to give back to the place that gave me my career, which is the USC dental school,” he says.
The first recipient will be named later this year.
“All I can hope for is that maybe [the student] will think back on this scholarship and pay it forward in some manner.”
Drs. Gary & Jay Solnit
Albert Solnit Family Endowed Scholarship
Trojan dentistry is hugely important to the Solnit family.
This year, Gary Solnit DDS ’86 and his older brother Jay Solnit DDS ’86 created a scholarship to honor their father, former Ostrow educator Albert Solnit ’54, DDS ’56.
“We wanted to make sure that his teachings and what he left at the university lives on forever,” says Gary, a prosthodontist practicing out of Beverly Hills, Calif.
Albert Solnit spent more than 30 years at Ostrow, teaching first-year dental students about dental morphology and occlusion, as well as operative dentistry.
Jay, an endodontist who also practices in Beverly Hills, adds that being able to help a student in their father’s name will be very “touching and rewarding.”
Both brothers stressed that the high price of a dental education was another major factor in their decision to establish the Albert Solnit Family Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship selection committee will look for candidates based on strong scholastic performance as well as financial need.
“The cost of dental school is getting higher and higher,” Jay explains. “Our goal with this scholarship is to help lessen that load.”
Gary expresses this sense of altruism as well, stating, “I want these students to realize that there are alumni out there who will support them getting through school financially and in every way.”