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Ruth Swords memorial

Dr. Ruth SwordsFriends, family and dental hygiene alumnae are coming together to honor Dr. Ruth Swords with a memorial scholarship that bears her name. Swords, a professor emeritus and former director of the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene, passed away this summer at age 92.

Swords was 44 when she earned her dental degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in 1961. Shortly after, she was asked to direct the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene, and she subsequently led the school for 20 years. While serving as director, Swords encouraged the college’s dean, Dr. Harry B. McCarthy, to expand the dental hygiene program from a two-year certificate to a bachelor’s degree, the first of its kind in Texas. On the day of Swords’ retirement, she was named professor emeritus.

From an early age, Swords distinguished herself with profound academic achievements. She graduated from high school in Mineral Wells, Texas, where she was valedictorian. She earned a bachelor’s degree and was, yet again, valedictorian at East Texas State Teacher’s College in 1938. Nearly two decades later, Swords returned to college to earn another bachelor’s degree from Texas Wesleyan College and a dental degree from Baylor College of Dentistry. At the dental school, she was second in her class and received the Merritt Parks award in periodontics.

Not only was Swords a charter member of the Baylor Odontological Honor Society, she was a member of Omicron Kappa Upsilon, a dental honor society, and an honorary member of Sigma Phi Alpha, a dental hygiene honor society. She was a fellow in the International College of Dentists and the American College of Dentists. Swords was a member of the Fort Worth District Dental Society and was inducted into the BCD Hall of Fame in 1989.

Former students of Swords, in cooperation with her daughter, Dr. Sylvia Gleaton, have started a memorial scholarship in Swords’ name. The scholarship fund is open to donations from past, present or future dental hygiene students and anyone else who would like to contribute.

Checks should be payable to Baylor College of Dentistry and mailed to the Office of Communications & Institutional Advancement, HSC-Baylor College of Dentistry, 3302 Gaston Ave, Dallas, TX 75246 with Swords’ name in the memo line. Contact the communications & institutional advancement office at 214.828.8214 or smitchelljackson@bcd.tamhsc.edu for more information.