Dr. Madeline Maupin Hicks – From trailblazing student to revered mentor

Dr. Madeline Maupin Hicks – From trailblazing student to revered mentor

Dr. Madeline Hicks’ photo on the D.M.D. Class of 1975 composite.

When Madeline Maupin Hicks first entered the University of Louisville School of Dentistry as a freshman 50 years ago, she did more than open the door to a building. She opened the door to a career in dentistry for many others who followed.

Back then, in the fall of 1971, Hicks was the only Black student at the school (Harold Howard, ULSD’s first Black student, had graduated the year before) and one of only three women in her class. “I felt fairly isolated during the first few weeks of classes,” she says. Hicks started to feel more at home as she started studying with classmates. However, she knew that each interaction carried a great deal of weight. “I was the first person of color with whom many of my classmates had ever had a conversation with. I was kind of an experiment for them.” Hicks graduated from ULSD in 1975, becoming the first Black woman to earn a D.M.D. from the school. “It was a tough road in some respects,” she says, “but I think this is a role that I was destined to undertake.”

Dr. Sherry Babbage, a 1981 ULSD graduate and current faculty member, says Dr. Hicks was truly a trailblazer. “It is upon her shoulders I stand. She endured many obstacles while in dental school, being the first African American female to attend. She set the bar high with her truth, spirit and professionalism.” Fellow faculty member Dr. Tiffany McPheeters says Dr. Hicks’ trailblazing continues to inspire, offering “hope for minorities who believe they can go to school and become a dentist as well.”

However, the story doesn’t end there. After nearly three decades building and maintaining a successful dental practice in Louisville, Dr. Hicks stepped back through the doors of ULSD in 2004 in a new role: part-time faculty member. In that position, she has served as a role model and mentor for new generations of students.

Dr. Breacya Washington, a 1995 ULSD graduate and current faculty member, says Dr. Hicks is respected by students and faculty alike for her skilled hands, as well as for her knowledge and sophistication. “She is well versed and can hold a conversation on just about any subject,” Washington says. “She always has a story.”

Dr. Amirah Jackson, a 2017 ULSD graduate and fellow faculty member, adds that Dr. Hicks has also earned respect for her character and commitment to community service, including her work in ministry. “She personifies integrity, discipline, poise, and honors her faith. Her continuous high moral standards through her life and work makes her virtuous.”

In the 50 years since Dr. Madeline Maupin Hicks first arrived as a student, she has made a lasting impact on ULSD. Now, as a faculty member, she can see the results firsthand. “It is so rewarding to see the friendships and the racial and gender diversity in the classes. The world is much easier when we learn and work together.”

Dr. Madeline Hicks (seated) with Dr. Breacya Washington, Dr. Amirah Jackson, Dr. Tiffany McPheeters and Dr. Sherry Babbage (standing L-R).

Above: Dr. Madeline Hicks (seated) with Dr. Breacya Washington, Dr. Amirah Jackson, Dr. Tiffany McPheeters and Dr. Sherry Babbage (standing L-R).


How You Can Help the Next Generation of African American Dentists 

Dr. Monroe E. Harris Jr. & Dr. Jill Bussey-Harris Endowed Scholarship

Established in 2013 by Drs. Monroe E. Harris Jr. ’84 and Jill Bussey-Harris ’87, this scholarship was established to provide an annual award to support a D.M.D. student in the School of Dentistry. Based on academic merit and financial need, preference shall be given to an African American student. To support this scholarship, visit the School of Dentistry Giving Page. Scroll down to the Scholarships category and select “Dr. Monroe E. Harris, Jr. & Dr. Jill Bussey-Harris Endowed Scholarship Fund”.

Dentistry Minority Scholarship

Established in 2008, this scholarship supports minority School of Dentistry applicants. To contribute to this fund, visit the School of Dentistry Giving Page. Scroll to the “General Dentistry Funds” category and select “Other,” then type “Dentistry Minority Scholarship” as the area you wish to support.