By Breonna Randall, Staff Reporter
Howard School of Dentistry Alumnus and philanthropist Doctor Amarjit Singh Marwah was honored at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Howard University School of Dentistry’s new state of the art clinic, The Marwah Comprehensive Care Clinic, on Friday, Feb 7.
Dr. Marwah’s original donation for The Marwah Comprehensive Care Clinic was $300,000 but at Friday’s event he handed Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, Howard University President, an additional check, giving Howard a total of $500,000.
The clinic will be 3,000-square-foot and have up to 22 chairs to help those in the D.C. community with their dental needs. The idea and planning behind the clinic have been in the making for the past 18 months and will start construction soon with the help of Dental, Medical & Veterinary Office Design and Construction Firm, Arminco Inc., based in the Washington DC Metro Area.
Students and faculty all took the time to thank Dr. Marwah for his donation and express excitement to be able to utilize the upcoming clinic to assure they are entering the workforce knowing they will be well prepared.
Dr. Marwah graduated from the School of Dentistry in 1958 and expressed how much of an honor it was to be able to learn and practice at Howard where he received an American Doctorate in Dentistry, allowing him to practice in the United States. “I feel honored to be alumni of Howard University,” said Dr. Marwah.
He came to the United States from India in 1953 on a Fulbright scholarship under the Guggenheim Foundation to study Pediatric Dentistry in New York. Dr. Marwah spoke on his struggles of being a student who had trouble getting into courses and getting work experience and sang the praises of the Deans at Howard that gave him the opportunities he needed to finish his education.
“I feel proud, of all the teachers who taught me to better my skills, they were wonderful,” said Dr. Marwah.
In 1962 Dr. Marwah moved to Los Angeles and joined the facility of Dentistry at the University of Southern California. He became the man behind the smiles of many celebrities in Hollywood including Elizabeth Taylor, Sidney Poitier and Muhammad Ali.
“California helped me a lot, my life was completely changed in California in civic affairs and in my field,” said Dr. Marwah.
In 1969 he founded the first Sikh temple in the United States. He has also paid college tuition for over 100 Indian American students. He referred to all his acts of philanthropy as a privilege to help others the way he was helped.
President Frederick spoke at the groundbreaking to acknowledge the gracious donation of Dr. Marwah and the great work of the School of Dentistry.
“As I travel the country and give talks about STEM and health sciences and all this disciplines one of the things I try to emphasize is the role dental education must play in our nation’s future,” said Frederick, “If we don’t have folks that are culturally competent to provide this care we will have the same issues we have moving forward.”
Frederick closed his remarks by highlighting the sense of family and strong support system the School of Dentistry has and promising Dr. Marwah that this clinic will always be a place he will be proud of contributing to.
“As we take care of patients in this environment here, we will do it in such a way where we can be very, very proud and the patients coming here can feel our love for each other as well and not just feel our love for them, because that goes a long way in telling people what we are all about,” said Frederick.
Dr. Marwah said that he hopes to keep this partnership with Howard for as long as he can, and when he is no longer able to his family and foundation will continue it for him.