Helping hand: Through scholarship, dental alumni honor staff member

Hazel Luton learns a scholarship has been established in her name.

Hazel Luton learns a scholarship has been established in her name.

From throwing pool parties and frying chicken to helping navigate licensure exams and offering professional advice, Hazel Luton would do just about anything for the dentistry students at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“Hazel was like a surrogate mother to me,” said Mark Beltrami, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’95/D), who received his D.D.S. from the VCU School of Dentistry in 1995. “She took students under her wing. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do to help us.”

As the School of Dentistry Class of 1995’s reunion approached, along with Luton’s milestone anniversary of 40 years with the School of Dentistry, Beltrami set the pace for his classmates and colleagues with a $10,000 lead gift to establish the Hazel Luton Scholarship.

Luton is the first staff member at the school to be honored with the creation of a scholarship. Now surpassing $45,000 in gifts and pledges, the scholarship will be awarded for the first time in fall 2017 to a rising second-year student who embodies Luton’s compassion.

“Hazel is beloved by so many. She is a parental figure as well as a supportive staff member,” said David C. Sarrett, D.M.D., dean of the VCU School of Dentistry and associate vice president for VCU Health Sciences-Faculty Affairs. “This scholarship is a testament to her many kindnesses. It will benefit generations of students who will receive financial assistance in her name.”

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