Black History Month: Dr. Clemetson

First Black elected alumni association president pays mentoring forward
February 15th, 2021

Dr. Jonathan Clemetson, adjunct associate professor, comprehensive dentistry, Texas A&M College of Dentistry

Professional degrees: DDS, 2002; Master’s in health education, 2010.

Years you held College of Dentistry Alumni Association president position: 2011-2013.

What being “first” in that role meant to you: An accomplishment for ALL—helping to normalize what the president of the association looks like (with regard to gender, color, race). I was a recipient of the path blazed by others, and I needed to blaze that path further.

What your current role means to you and how it has been groundbreaking: As a professor, I take it seriously: being a good example to others and a mentor to students, especially minorities, as there are so few of us. Just paying forward what was given to me and asking that in return.

Best dental school memory: Graduating as one of two students with the most awards in my class was a shocker for so many, as I was “the Black student” in my class.

Do you still keep in touch with classmates? Yes, very frequently.

Your advice, wish and hope for future Black students: That they feel a sense of belonging, that this profession and all it offers is equally theirs to obtain.

Obstacle you hope the next Black generation will avoid: When faced with negativity, don’t take “no” for an answer. Keep pushing on, as others behind you benefit from it.

For more installments of this series, click these links:

Black History Month: Dr. Stewart

Black History Month: Dr. Smith

Black History Month: SNDA

— Kathleen Green Pothier