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An Advocate for Equity

Trailblazing dentist and educator Juliann Bluitt Foster's unrestricted bequest helps support the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. 

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Juliann Bluitt Foster, left, made an impact on Northwestern during and after her lifetime.Image: Courtesy of Northwestern University Archives

Spring 2023

As a dentist and an educator, Juliann Bluitt Foster blazed a trail. 

First, she earned a degree from Howard University College of Dentistry in 1962, when a tiny fraction of U.S. dental school graduates were African American women. Then, in 1967, she became Northwestern Dental School’s first Black full-time faculty member. There, Bluitt Foster created a community dentistry program to increase access to dental care and, as associate dean of admissions, developed a program to recruit highly qualified students. She later served as the first woman and Black president of the Chicago Dental Society and the first woman to lead the American College of Dentists.  

Before her death in 2019, Bluitt Foster included an unrestricted bequest for Northwestern in her estate plan, which allowed University leadership to designate the gift to an area of need upon receipt. In recognition of Bluitt Foster’s work to diversify the dental profession, Provost Kathleen Hagerty chose to allocate this gift to the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.  

“Dr. Bluitt Foster distinguished herself as a tireless advocate for equity and inclusion at Northwestern and nationally,” Hagerty says. “We are proud to honor her legacy by directing her bequest to advance access, belonging and accountability.” 

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