$27.68 million gift to UNC School of Dentistry will enhance education, advance public service

The gift from Dr. Claude A. Adams III of Durham will fund scholarships, professorships and outreach benefitting North Carolina.

As a young girl, Pegah Khosravi-Kamrani was diagnosed with a severe underbite that affected her confidence. When she finished the orthodontic treatment that realigned her jaw, she made a life-changing decision: she would become a dentist to give others the gift of a smile.

Now a second-year dental student in the UNC School of Dentistry, Khosravi-Kamrani is benefitting from a $27 million donation to the school, which will allow more students like her to treat and care for patients in need. The gift will provide for individual student scholarships, as well as support of the school’s teaching, training and public service programs.

“I am so grateful for this scholarship,” Khosravi-Kamrani said. “It not only reduces my financial burdens, but it allows me to focus on my academic goals, my research goals and my service goals to connect with communities locally and globally.”

Announced Feb. 20, the bequest from the estate of Dr. Claude A. Adams III of Durham is the largest single donation to the UNC School of Dentistry. Adams, who died in 2018, practiced dentistry in Durham for almost 25 years. To commemorate the donation, the school has been renamed the UNC Claude A. Adams Jr. and Grace Phillips Adams School of Dentistry in honor of his parents.

“This is truly a transformative gift that changes everything for us — for our students, for our staff, for our faculty, for our alumni,” said Dean Scott De Rossi. “We have the best dental school in the world, and now, with this gift, we’ll be able to move beyond excellence.”

The donation will impact thousands of lives across the state and nation as the school continues to train the next generation of dentists to provide compassionate, cutting-edge care.

“The UNC Adams School of Dentistry is a leading school in education and research, patient care and community service. This generous gift from Dr. Adams will help the school advance its work and focus on harnessing emerging technologies, developing new healthcare delivery models and training the next generation of dentists,” said Kevin M. Guskiewicz, interim chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill. “Its commitment to helping the people of North Carolina is clear – nearly 50 percent of our state’s dentists graduate from our dental school.”

In addition to providing student scholarships, the grant will extend service-learning programs in 50 partner sites across North Carolina and will support faculty professorships and staff awards.

“With this gift, we can deepen our commitment to students through additional scholarship dollars and also to our community through increased financial support for service trips in North Carolina,” De Rossi said. “It is an honor for our school to now carry the Adams name, in accordance with Dr. Adams’ wishes as a tribute to his beloved parents.”

As Khosravi-Kamrani continues her journey toward becoming a dentist and treating children in need, the donation only reaffirms what she has set out to accomplish, encouraging her to give her best every day.

“I feel motivated and inspired to ask more of myself, to push my classmates more, to give back more,” she said. “[This gift] has asked me to get into research and better the community, the school and everything in between.”