On Jan. 23, 2012, Dr. Tonya Parris-Wilkins (D.D.S. ’03) realized her dream of opening her own dental practice in Colonial Heights, Va. She had been raised with the notion that “To whom much is given, much is required.” So that same week in January, she and her family made a major commitment to the VCU School of Dentistry by establishing the Parris-Wilkins Scholarship.
Creating the scholarship wasn’t an easy decision, as she was financing her new practice. She discussed her ideas in depth with her husband, Dr. Joseph D. Wilkins (M.S.P.T. ’01, D.P.T. ’06, M.S.H.A. ’11), a VCU alumnus three times over. “Neither of our parents graduated from four-year colleges, so we were starting from scratch when we pursued advanced degrees,” said Parris-Wilkins. “We want to help forge a path for others, we want to set an example for our children. We have no regrets.”
Parris-Wilkins and her husband established the scholarship, which gives preference to African-American, third-year dental students who apply.
“Establishing the Parris-Wilkins Scholarship and meeting the first recipient has been very rewarding,” shared Parris-Wilkins, who celebrated her 10th anniversary of practicing dentistry in 2013.
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