At West Virginia University Health Sciences, the School of Dentistry has a mission to transform students into clinically excellent, service-oriented practitioners. For one family, its mission has made an impact for three generations.
Building a legacy
Dr. Billy C. Schamp graduated with the first class of dental students at WVU in 1961. His daughter, Dr. M. Rene Schamp, graduated in 1992. This year, Billy’s granddaughter, Ashley Faddis, will also graduate from the Doctor of Dental Surgery program.
After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Billy attended the School of Dentistry with G.I. Bill benefits. The first graduating class had 23 students. After working at a private practice for a year, he opened his own practice in Winter Park, Florida, in 1964. After 35 years of practice, Billy retired and currently raises cattle in Winter Park.
Rene chose dentistry after considering other fields and attending the University of Central Florida before transferring to WVU. After graduation, she worked with her father before leading his practice once he retired.
Rene explains that it was interesting to learn about the School of Dentistry from her father and then later attend the school herself.
“We graduated 30 years apart and when my dad attended, the school had brand new laboratories and equipment,” Rene said. “When I was attending, the laboratories were being renovated, so it was cool to see that happening.”
As Ashley finishes her time at the School of Dentistry, Rene explains the impact of having three generations of dentists in the family.
“We’re all just so proud of Ashley and the hard work and determination she has put into becoming a dentist,” she said.
Ashley noted that throughout her childhood, dentistry was always encouraged as a possible career choice.
Those family conversations sparked an interest in the field, and now Ashley is preparing to graduate in the Class of 2023.
“It’s been interesting to watch how that influence has spanned across generations for our family,” Rene said.
As part of the 65th anniversary of the School of Dentistry, Dr. Robert Wanker wrote “The History of the WVU School of Dentistry,” coedited by Dr. Jerry Bouquot and Dinah Courrier. The cover of the book features Billy in the first class of dental students and Ashley in the Class of 2023.
While there have been some technological advancements since Billy graduated, the family of dentists often discusses how several practices and principles have remained the same.
One of the big distinctions is the shift from hand to rotary instrumentation used by dental professionals when working with patients. Ashley also notes that her grandfather frequently practiced with gold fillings rather than the white, composite fillings that are more commonly used today.
“My grandfather had given me the original mouth he practiced on while in dental school and it had a lot of goldwork in it,” she said. “It’s been interesting to compare with him the tools used when he was learning and practicing to what is now used today.”
As Ashley prepares to graduate from the school and join a private practice in Bentleyville, Pennsylvania, her family hopes the tradition of dentistry of will continue.
“Hopefully we will continue to have dentists in our family for generations to come,” Rene said.
Continuing a family tradition
Having attended a small high school in Pennsylvania and Penn State University for her undergraduate degree, the close-knit community in the School of Dentistry helped Ashley create strong relationships with her classmates and faculty.
“I have made close friends in my class and the smaller class size allows for one-on-one learning opportunities with faculty,” she said.
The training opportunities offered to students in the school and in the Doctor of Dental Surgery program have also helped Ashley feel prepared for treating patients in practice.
“Since our facilities are next to J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, we get to go into the operating room for dental cases that require sedation which is a good learning opportunity,” she said. “We also do a rural rotation during our senior year which provided me a lot of great experiences.”
During her time at the school, Ashley has been involved in the Delta Sigma Delta dental fraternity and WVU’s American Student Dental Association chapter while also serving as a teaching assistant for two first-year dentistry classes.
“Being involved in student organizations has helped me build relationships with other dental students and professionals,” she said. “These relationships will help me transition from school to private practice.
Reflecting on her School of Dentistry journey, Ashley is excited to begin practicing after graduation and feels the training she received at the school has prepared her for the next chapter.
“The lifestyle of a dentist is very family oriented, and I’ve learned how to build solid connections with patients which I’m excited to do in my own practice. I couldn’t be more thankful for the faculty, mentors and friends I have made here. Dentistry is a very challenging and rewarding profession and thanks to WVU, I feel prepared for my future career in the field.”
To learn more about the WVU School of Dentistry, visit dentistry.wvu.edu.
CONTACT: Sunshine Wiles-Gidley
Director of Marketing and Communications
WVU School of Dentistry