Established in 1840 as the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, the University of Maryland School of Dentistry is known as the first dental college in the world. This past week, the school again made history when it graduated the first black valedictorian in its 176-year existence.
As graduation approached, Tera Poole knew she was among the top five students in her class, but she didn’t know where exactly she ranked. When she opened up the graduation program, Poole saw her name at the top as the class valedictorian. She didn’t have much time to celebrate, however: The young dental student from Ohio gave the commencement speech shortly thereafter.
“Everything, even being valedictorian was a surprise to me,” Poole said in an interview.