A man and a woman stand in front of a building.
Carole and Phil Hanes [Michael Holahan/Augusta University]

‘Spirit of Gratitude’: Retired dental leaders pledge gift to support future students

There are many ways to show gratitude and leave a legacy. Phil Hanes, DDS, and his wife Carole Hanes, DMD, determined the best way for them to give back is to leave a planned estate gift to the Dental College of Georgia to assist students with funding for a quality education for generations to come.

For decades, the Haneses served the university in faculty and administrative positions. Phil served as associate dean for Academic Affairs and Advanced Education before retiring in 2016, and Carole worked in student affairs where she was the associate dean for Admissions, Students and Alumni.

When Carole retired in 2018, her friends and colleagues established the Hanes Family Scholarship Endowment to honor her for more than three decades of educating and supporting DCG students. The family has been contributing to the endowment since its creation, but this year the couple decided to go a step further by pledging an estate gift.

“I was involved in activities that occurred around the state with students in clinics and saw how hard they worked. I also saw how rewarding it is and how well they were doing,” Carole explained. “It helped me realize what an investment we had made and would like to continue to make in dentistry in Georgia. It’s nice to feel like you’re a small part of that.”

“Plus, the dental school itself is a force within the state,” Phil added. “It’s the only dental school in Georgia, and many of the alumni go on to serve in leadership roles across the state in state board offices or as presidents of the Georgia Dental Association. When you support the Dental College of Georgia, you’re supporting the advancement of the dental profession in the whole state. Those are important things to give to,” he said.

The Haneses began their careers as faculty at the University of Mississippi, but rumors of a possible closure led them to positions at the Dental College of Georgia in 1986. What has kept them in Augusta and devoted to DCG after all these years is the sense of community the couple found here.

“We liked the jobs at the dental school, and it was a good place to work,” Phil said. “We both had supportive faculty colleagues in our departments who we enjoyed working with – people who were very collaborative and willing to work with you in terms of career advancement. In other academic environments, it’s much more competitive rather than collaborative. People at DCG were working together for everybody’s benefit.”

The couple also said that Augusta was a nice sized city and a good place to start a family. Their daughter Sarah came along in their first year, and while the Haneses may not have had any family locally, they were grateful to the community of friends and colleagues at DCG who offered support along the way.

“The Dental College of Georgia has given us a lot. It has given us security, family and friends,” Carole said. “It’s the least we can do to give back, to help the future, and to continue the stability of what goes on at the Dental College of Georgia, and part of it is just a spirit of gratitude for the life we’ve lived.”

The Haneses “spirit of gratitude” is already making a difference in the lives of the dental students who have benefited from the Hanes Family Scholarship. The current recipient, Dionne Aikhionbare, said the scholarship has been a blessing for her and her family.

Dionne Aikhionbare

“Being awarded the Hanes Family Scholarship has helped ease some of the financial strain that can come with pursuing a doctorate degree and not being able to work,” Aikhionbare said. “With the help of this scholarship, I am able to focus on my academics and not worry so much about finances. This scholarship has been a blessing to my family because it represents not only financial assistance but has given us a sense of pride and hope for the future.”

After she graduates from the Dental College of Georgia, Aikhionbare plans to complete a general practice residency program at DCG and stay in Georgia to establish her own practice. She also intends to devote time to volunteering at public health fairs and clinics within the state.

Just like the Hanes family, friends, neighbors, business owners, alumni, retirees and other AU supporters can support Augusta University through Augusta Gives on Wednesday, March 20. For information about how you can make a lasting impact at the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University, please contact Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement via email or by calling 706-721-4001.

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Written by
Valerie Emerick
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Woman's head shot Written by Valerie Emerick

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