Different time, different place, same purpose

March 6th, 2014

Dental students throughout the decades have devoted spring and summer break times to service trips. This particular photo was taken in 2011 by Dr. Jonathan Oudin, then in his fourth year of dental school.

Like those opting to spend their 2014 spring break vacations on service learning trips, Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry students throughout the decades have shared their time to benefit patients around the globe in desperate need of dental care. Often driven by personal faith, and without expectation of tangible reward, students serve tirelessly in places near and far. The following story from nearly 50 years ago, when the dental school shared Baylor University’s Baptist roots, reveals the enduring length of this thread of student service woven throughout Baylor College of Dentistry’s history:

Junior Student to Serve as Summer Student Missionary
Baylor Dental Journal, Spring 1963

James Wilcox, junior dental student, has been selected to serve as a Baptist Student Union Missionary in the summer missions work this year.

Wilcox will serve in Nigeria, West Africa, helping other dental missionaries, Dr. Howard McCamey ’40, Dr. Wayne Logan ’50 and Dr. William Wyatt ’55.

Although his duties have not been completely defined, he will aid these dentists in one of the two locations of the Southern Baptist Dental Clinics in either Ibadan or Enugu.

The summer missions program is sponsored each year by the Texas Baptist Division of Student Work in cooperation with the Home and Foreign
Mission Boards.

The 31 students, a record number, were selected by a 13-member summer missions committee after personal interviews with more than 51 nominees from 26 schools.

Wilcox is the first student from the College of Dentistry to be selected for summer mission work and is the first student to be appointed in the dental mission field.

Wilcox has been active in church work in his hometown, Midland, Texas. He attended Baylor University and received the B.S. degree in 1961. Since enrolling in the College of Dentistry he has served as social chairman of the B.S.U. for two years and has sung in the Dental College Chorus. He is a member of the Baylor Odontological Honor Society.

He is a member of the Gaston Avenue Baptist Church, Dallas, and teaches a Sunday School class of senior boys. He is a member of the Library Committee and was assistant pastor during Youth Week.

In preparation for his work this summer Wilcox will attend a missions conference at Southwestern Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, an orientation conference in Richmond, Virginia, and a Leadership Training Conference held at Lueder’s Encampment near Abilene.

The student group will embark from New York June 1, visiting England, France and Italy and arriving in Nigeria, June 7. Wilcox will leave Nigeria on August 16.

This Impressions photo and article originally appeared in the 2010-2011 Baylor Dental Journal.

— Carolyn Cox