Even though he had never stepped foot in the campus or even been to the city before, in 1961, David Powell DDS ’68 MS ’71 moved to Los Angeles from Utah to attend USC on a full-tuition merit scholarship.
It changed his life—so much so that his Trojan pride informed his profession: In addition to his private practice, he taught at the USC Ostrow School of Dentistry and the USC Pediatric Dental Residency program at Children’s Hospital for more than 25 years. He also made a special point to get his master’s from USC Rossier, to better help educate his young patients.
When he looks back at his distinguished career as a longtime pediatric dentist and educator, David Powell is most grateful for the little things, like a card he’s held on to for years.
“Merry Christmas, Dr. Powell. You have totally changed my nervousness into happiness when going to the dentist,” 10-year-old Sami (dotted with a heart) West wrote. “P.S. I CAN EAT AN APPLE NOW!!!”
Those seemingly small moments of connection and kindness, especially with young people, have always meant everything to him and his wife, Carol. That’s why they have made a $1.5 million estate gift in addition to a $250,000 bequest intention to endow two named scholarship funds, one for undergraduates and one for USC Rossier graduate students.
Helping people has been a way of life for them both: David met Carol, a physical therapist, when they both were doing rounds at Orthopedic Hospital downtown. Not only are they celebrating their 38th anniversary this year, but they share a commitment to giving back to USC and its students.
“We learned long ago that you get more from giving than receiving,” Carol says. “We want to do our part to make people happy.”
“We aren’t looking for attention or recognition; we just want to give back,” David adds. “We love USC. It gave me the opportunity to get an education, and we wanted to be able to do something to allow students to have the same opportunity.”