A local business owner made a generous donation to the Hunt School of Dental Medicine in honor of his parents during a live-streamed event hosted by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Thursday, March 4.
Renard U. Johnson, owner of Management and Engineering Technologies International Inc. (METI), wrote a check for the Hunt School of Dental Medicine to create the Alvin T. and Louise E. Johnson Family Scholarship. The scholarship is named after his parents, who put him in a position to succeed in life and give back to the community.
“It’s extremely special to me to be able to recognize my parents with this scholarship,” Renard said. My mother and father are passionate about giving back to our community. They’ve gifted many scholarships here in El Paso and throughout the U.S. It is truly an honor to partner with TTUHSC El Paso and establish the Alvin T. & Louise E. Johnson scholarship, at the brand-new Hunt School of Dental Medicine.”
Renard’s parents grew up in the deep South in the late 1930s and moved to Chicago to start their family. Alvin T. Johnson took a job in civil service, which sent him to White Sands Missile Range. The move required Louise to sell their cosmetic corporation and record store she owned and for the family to say goodbye to their home in Chicago. It was the right move as they would fall in love with the Borderland and soon call it home. They would spend the next 25 years building thriving businesses and giving back to their community.
Renard’s father and mother started Management Assistance Corporation of America (MACA) in 1979, an IT and engineering support service for the federal government, and his mother served as the company president and CEO. Together they ran it while Renard attended Andress High School and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) where he graduated in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in Management.
Renard’s parents eventually sold their business in 1998. Renard founded his company in 1994 while still a student at UTEP, he began working in the business full-time in 1998. METI had humble beginnings starting with only seven employees. Today, METI is headquartered in El Paso, where it thrives in the community with approximately 400 employees.
Just as his mother and father paved the way for him, Renard hopes the Alvin T. and Louise E. Johnson Family Scholarship relieves the financial burden for future Hunt School of Dental Medicine students, preparing them for long and successful careers in the Borderland.
“My mother and father raised us with the knowledge that you cannot just take from your community, but you need to find ways to give back. We learned that this means to give of our time and resources when we can,” Renard said. “Giving to your community is something that we can all do. This dental school will have a huge impact on our community and this region for generations to come.”
The scholarship will not only benefit students, but the community as they go on to become practicing dentists in the region. In El Paso County, there’s only one dentist for every 4,840 residents, compared to the national average of one dentist for every 1,638. Because most graduating dentists establish their practices in proximity to their dental schools, the Hunt School of Dental Medicine will help alleviate the severe shortage of dentists in the Paso del Norte region.
Over 900 students have applied be a part of the 40-member inaugural class of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine, which will open this summer. The school will be housed in the Medical Sciences Building II, where students will train in the Dental Learning Center, a state-of-the art facility that will allow them to practice modern dentistry techniques for 2025 and beyond. The center will feature 80 stations equipped with high-tech simulation manikins and a fabrication lab for crafting dental appliances using 3D scanners and advanced CAD/CAM machines.
In addition, the Hunt School of Dental Medicine will offer reduced-cost dental care in its 38,000 square-foot public dental clinic. The Texas Tech Oral Dental Health Clinic will be equipped with 130 treatment chairs and is expected to be the top dental-care destination, not only for the public, but for faculty, staff, students and their families.
Similar to the Foster School of Medicine, the Hunt School of Dental Medicine will embrace the unique health care needs of our border community to offer the most innovative education for students through culturally competent, hands-on training and an introduction to early clinical experiences among a diverse population. As part of curriculum requirements, dental students will learn medical Spanish, allowing them to bridge language and cultural barriers to deliver the highest quality of oral health care.
Check out our gallery of photos from the event: