Longtime EWU Dental Hygiene Professor Creates Endowed Scholarship

Eastern’s Dental Hygiene received a remarkable gift as it commemorates 50 years of excellence in education and service to the community.

Diane McHenry, a longtime EWU faculty member who helped start the Department of Dental Hygiene, recently gifted $50,000 to Eastern to create an endowed scholarship. Her generosity will not only provide tuition assistance, but will help students with a broad range of expenses in the pursuit of dental hygiene licensure.

“This is going to help so many students,” said Lisa Bilich, ’89, professor and chair of the Department of Dental Hygiene.

Bilich recalls having McHenry, who is now retired, as a professor when she attended EWU in the mid-1990s. “She was so kind and supportive and was always one of my favorite instructors.”

McHenry’s supportive nature and desire to remove obstacles for students inspired her to create the fund, which can be used to help cover uniforms, instruments and about $3,000 in fees to take a series of required board exams. Preference in awarding the assistance is given to single parents who apply.

“Sometimes a student actually has to put off taking the exams because they can’t afford to get licensed,” Bilich explained. With a current workforce shortage impacting the dental profession, getting highly-trained graduates to work as soon as possible benefits the entire community.

Dental Hygiene is in the process of planning a spring celebration to honor 50 years of graduating knowledgeable and well-trained dental hygienists. Eastern – the only university in Washington state to offer a bachelor of science degree in Dental Hygiene – has done outstanding work operating a clinic that serves low-income individuals, families and seniors, while providing specialty care for diabetics and women who are pregnant.

Stay tuned for more stories and details about the 50th Anniversary celebration.