MSU graduate is ‘all smiles’ at receiving $140,000 Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Ben Pace of Philadelphia is congratulated by Dr. David Felton, dean of the UMMC School of Dentistry, for receiving a Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship. (Photo submitted)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University alumnus Benjamin D. “Ben” Pace of Philadelphia has a lot to smile about this year. The May summa cum laude biological sciences/pre-dental bachelor’s graduate is receiving a four-year, $140,000 Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship to the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Dentistry.

Also a graduate of East Central Community College, Pace is receiving $35,000 per year to attend dental school. Awards are based on available funding.

“The Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program and Mississippi State University share a common commitment to improving the lives of people in this state,” said Rick Travis, dean of MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. “We are honored that MSU has played a role in preparing Ben for the practice of dentistry in underserved areas of the state.” 

“Additionally, the Dr. A. Randle and Marilyn W. White Pre-Med Advisory Office has worked closely with the Rural Dentists Scholarship Program to ensure that our students are well-prepared for dental school,” Travis added.

Created in 2013 by the Mississippi Legislature, the program is providing nine dental students with $315,000 to support their education. Scholars have demonstrated the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become competent, well-trained rural pediatric or general dentists in the Magnolia State.

Additional benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural dentists and academic support.

After completing dental school, MRDSP scholars must work full time for at least four years in general or pediatric dentistry at a program-approved, clinic-based practice in one of the state’s rural or medically underserved communities.

For more information on MRDSP, visit or contact Dan Coleman, associate director, at 601-815-9022 or

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