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Double the Impact

University match boosts dental scholarships

As a child, Marina Castellino, D15, accidentally pulled out her older sister’s first loose tooth. She has known that dentistry was her passion ever since.

Coming from a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania, Castellino was able to attend Tufts University School of Dental Medicine thanks in part to a generous gift from Ivers Rifkin, D52. Rifkin, who ran a practice for 61 years in Bridgewater, Mass., until his retirement last year, made the gift to help deserving dental students get their education with less worry about finances. His gift will be matched by the Financial Aid Initiative, through which Tufts matches any newly established endowed scholarship of $100,000 or more. The Financial Aid Initiative has raised more than $55 million since it began in 2013.

In addition to Rifkin’s support, the School of Dental Medicine was honored to receive three additional gifts for scholarships through the Financial Aid Initiative recently. The gifts came from Bill Sellers, A56, D60, J84P; American Dental Partners (thanks to Board of Advisors member Greg Serrao); and an anonymous donor. Each gift will be fully matched, doubling the impact. This generous support helps close the affordability gap, ensuring that Tufts can attract the best and brightest future dentists.

After graduation in May, Castellino will move back to her home state to join a local private practice. One of her goals is to make going to the dentist less traumatic for patients by treating them like family members. ”My most rewarding experience in dental school to date was when one of my patients, a grown man, started crying and hugging me because he was so happy we were able to fix his teeth after years of neglect,” she says. “Moments like that are why I love this career.”