NDA Trailblazer Award for Williams

July 22nd, 2015
Dr. Claude Williams stands in front of the Dallas skyline.

Dr. Claude Williams

Dr. Claude Williams has never been one to shy away from a challenge. After 40 years as a faculty member at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, Williams retired in 2013, concluding a career dedicated to progress and forged with perseverance.

As the first African-American faculty member at the dental school and the first African-American orthodontist in the southwest, Williams’ goals focused on inclusion, fostering opportunities for underrepresented minorities to enter the dental profession and increasing access to care for dentally underserved communities.

For these efforts, the National Dental Association will present Williams with its Trailblazer Award on July 24 during the 102nd NDA Annual Convention opening session. The award, the organization’s highest honor, is given to a dentist who has demonstrated exemplary service and humanitarianism.

It’s not something the NDA awards often, not even on an annual basis. The last Trailblazer Award was given in 2007 to Dr. Jeanne Sinkford, then American Dental Education Association director of the Center for Equity and Diversity, who served as the first female dean of a U.S. dental school.

— Jennifer Fuentes