“As a career, I look forward to having a dental practice that both provides top-quality patient care and aids in building people’s confidence,” Freddy Flanagan, DDS ’22, wrote as part of his application for the Dean’s Scholarship for Leadership & Excellence at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD). “I love the thought of restoring smiles, not just because of the cosmetic effects, but also because it helps increase patients’ longevity. I believe that it is better to give than receive, and that the best gift in life to give to somebody is a second chance.”
Giving people a second chance was inspired by his own experience. At age 5, Flanagan lost his father to addiction. His mother, also involved with drugs early on, turned her life around after joining a church and dedicating her life to helping others. Some of Flanagan’s earliest memories include his mom providing shelter to homeless women and children. Her influence on him discovering his need to give back continued after she became employed by an endodontist. His mother urged Flanagan to become a dentist because it offered an opportunity to help those in need.
As a teenager, Flanagan took her advice and his first steps toward giving back when he began working for E. Taylor Meiser Jr., DDS ’77, in Annapolis, Md. He thought of his father when he watched Meiser reconstructing a young recovering addict’s smile free of charge. Before becoming a student at UMSOD, Flanagan received degrees in biological sciences and applied molecular biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. As a dental student and now a Doctor of Dental Surgery graduate, Flanagan’s focus on helping recovering addicts restore their healthy smiles has become part of his growing legacy.
In 2021, he was an inaugural recipient of the $25,000 UMSOD Dean’s Scholarship for Leadership & Excellence. Funded through the philanthropic support of annual donors each fiscal year, the scholarship is awarded to two exemplary dental students who show promise and excellence inside and outside of the classroom.
Fundraising efforts for this fund include the Socks for Scholarships initiative, allowing donors to earn a UMSOD-themed pair of socks with their $100 minimum gift or pledge. Since its creation during Fiscal Year 2020, Socks for Scholarships has raised over $160,000 from more than 450 donors, with 225 alumni and friends donating nearly $40,000 in FY 2022.
Last December, Flanagan received another financial boost when medical apparel provider FIGS, Inc., rewarded him with a $50,000 Future Icons scholarship for his work with recovering addicts, stating on its website: “Driven by the power of second chances, community leader and non-traditional student Freddy went into dentistry to help recovering addicts restore their smiles.”
Freddy Flanagan, DDS ’22, gives back to the community, assisting recovering addicts in regaining their healthy smiles.
You can support future leaders in dentistry like Flanagan through a gift to the UMSOD Dean’s Scholarship for Leadership & Excellence. Gifts of $100 or greater qualify for the Socks for Scholarships initiative, with donors receiving this year’s commissioned design by UMSOD student Jessica Lindler (Class of 2024) while supplies last. Please visit dental.umaryland.edu/give/socks.