Celebrating the First 100

The “First 100 Dentists of Color” Celebration Brunch on Saturday, April 27, at Richmond’s Black History Museum and Cultural Center was a celebration of accomplishments, achievements and trailblazing where Erma Freeman (D.D.S.’77) was recognized as the school’s first black female graduate.

The “First 100” initiative paves the way for the “Next 100” through scholarships for students who are members of the VCU Chapter of the Student National Dental Association. Donors and friends involved with the initiative were celebrated at the event for their generous support of students and the school.

Darriel Cannon (D.D.S. ’19), the school’s first African American class president, shared his experiences and vision for the future of African Americans in the oral health profession. 

The First 100 initiative is the major driver in the school’s efforts to provide scholarships, mentorship and fellowship for the “Next 100 Dentists of Color” and beyond.

The event was generously underwritten by DentaQuest, an oral health care company dedicated to advancing oral health for all.

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Photos

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Erma Freeman (D.D.S. ’77), center, accepts the First 100 Trailblazer Award from Dr. Olivia Croom (left) chief dental officer, DentaQuest, and David C. Sarrett, D.M.D., M.S., (right) dean of the VCU School of Dentistry.

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A congratulatory cheer for Erma Freeman (center) from friends and members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. 

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Erma Freeman (seated) is surrounded by sorority sisters who sang the Delta Sweetheart Song. 

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Dr. Olivia Croom, chief dental officer, DentaQuest, enjoys exhibits at Richmond’s Black History Museum and Cultural Center, site of the First 100 Celebration Brunch in April.  

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Dr. Freeman and Darriel Cannon (D.D.S. ’19). Cannon, four-time president of his D.D.S. class at VCU, is now preparing for his oral surgery residency at U.C.L.A.

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Friends, family and sorority sisters with honoree Erma Freeman. Left to right: Sandra Wood, Julia Tina Atwater, Erma Freeman, Carla Wood Jeffries, Deborah Lee, and Twanna Lesperance. 

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Dr. Carolyn Hines (left) and Ms. Beverly Brewer (right).

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VCU School of Dentistry alumna, Erma Freeman (D.D.S. ’77), the Trailblazer Award honoree.

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Jim Watkins (D.D.S. ‘75) and his wife, Hardenia, enjoy Richmond’s Black History Museum and Cultural Center in the city’s Jackson Ward neighborhood. Dr. Watkins was named the dental school’s Alumni Star in 2003 and received the Dr. Harry Lyons Outstanding Dental Alumnus award in 2009.

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Left to right: William Nelson (D.D.S. ‘75), Mrs. Hardenia and Jim Watkins (D.D.S. ‘75) and Charles Johnson (D.D.S. ‘76). 

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Erma Freeman paved the way for other black female dentists who followed in her path. Left to right: Dr. Jacqueline Curl, Renita Randolph (D.D.S. ‘91), Dr. Shanail Allen, Dr. Audra Jones, Erma Freeman (D.D.S. ‘77), Tiffany Williams (M.S.D. ‘14), Dr. Sheilandice Holmes, Tonya Parris-Wilkins (D.D.S. ‘03), Dr. Lori Wilson.

View more photos from this event here.