From Houston, with warm regards
The miles stretching between Dr. Don Le’s Houston practice and A&M Baylor College of Dentistry have prevented him from volunteering in the college’s clinics.
So the 1998 TAMBCD graduate and his wife, Cindy, decided on another way to imprint lasting change in the lives of students: They pledged $50,000 toward the creation of a scholarship. Once it is fully funded at the end of 2014, the Drs. Cindy and Don Le Endowed Scholarship Fund is designed to support one student each year with a scholarship up to $2,500 based on GPA, community service and financial need.
“My life could be 180 degrees different if I never received that acceptance letter,” says Le. “We love the school, love the profession, and we wanted to give something in return.”
One day a week, Le leaves his private practice — a small shop with three chairs, his staff and one part-time associate — and instructs dental students in the urgent care clinic at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Dentistry at Houston as a volunteer faculty member.
It’s a far cry from his life just a little more than three decades ago. In 1985, Le and his family made a harrowing escape from Vietnam, living at a refugee camp in Indonesia before receiving permanent asylum in the U.S. and making their home in Houston. Le didn’t speak any English at first, but math and science were a natural fit for him. High school led to physics and math courses at the University of Texas at Austin, and by 1994, acceptance to TAMBCD.
“There have been a lot of good things in my life,” Le says. “All of this happened because I’m a dentist.”
Read more about Le’s remarkable story and life’s work in the Spring/Summer 2014 Baylor Dental Journal.—Jenny Fuentes