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The Ohio State University College of Dentistry  

  1. Dr. Gene Shrum and Dee Dee (Shrum) Wacksman

  2. Gene Shrum, seated second from the left, is shown with other College of Dentistry classmates.


Wacksman-Shrum Scholarship Honors a Father’s Legacy

October, 2008

Gene Shrum (D.D.S. ’47) grew up during the Great Depression, and in spite of those hard economic times, he dreamed of a career in the medical profession. After graduating from Ohio University in 1939, he joined the U.S. Army and served in World War II. After the war ended and the G.I. Bill of Rights was passed by Congress, Gene enrolled as a student in the College of Dentistry at The Ohio State University. Living on a tight budget, Gene worked several jobs at a time, including loading coal and working at the State Penitentiary, to pay his way through dental school. His unwavering commitment to dentistry and his tireless efforts to find a way to make ends meet enabled him to provide for his wife and family, while also graduating from Ohio State’s College of Dentistry in 1947.

20 years later, Dr. Shrum’s daughter Dee Dee followed in her father’s footsteps, graduating from the College of Dentistry with a degree in dental hygiene in 1967. Her path to a career in oral health care was smoother than her father’s, but Dee Dee never forgot Gene’s struggle to become a dentist. When Dr. Shrum passed away in 2006, she honored his memory by creating a scholarship in both their names. The Wacksman-Shrum Dental Scholarship Fund provides two scholarships each year--one for a D.D.S. student, and one for a dental hygiene student at Ohio State.

Dee Dee (Shrum) Wacksman followed in her father’s footsteps both as a dental professional and as a lifelong learner. Knowing how hard it is for some students to afford an education, it’s her hope that the Wacksman-Shrum scholarship will help students like her father, who struggled to finance his education, and her goal is for the scholarship to make “life a little bit easier for some aspiring student.” When asked what advice she would give to future recipients of the scholarship, Dee Dee said, “Take advantage of your education and make the best of those years--and study hard!”