Raised in a family of track athletes, Carl Buchanon II (BS ’11, School of Dentistry Class of 2019) followed in their footsteps as a hurdler and two-time captain on the U-M Men’s Track & Field team. Knowing that “athletics weren’t going to be forever,” Carl earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Passionate about helping people, Carl decided to apply to dental school, but wondered how he would afford one of the most expensive graduate programs. “I love using my hands, I am very creative, and I love speaking to people,” Carl said. “Dentistry seemed like the perfect balance.”
Carl earned multiple scholarships to U-M, including an endowed scholarship established by the late Norman H. Mette, who left U-M after one semester because he couldn’t afford to continue. Since 1987, scholarships from the Norman H. Mette Foundation have supported over 80 dental students and almost 200 medical students.
Carl hopes to carry on Mette’s legacy by improving access to affordable care and spreading awareness about proactive dental health. Beyond his clinical work, he strives to be a positive influence in his own community through Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
“I had a lot of mentors growing up, so I felt like I needed to be able to do that for the children in this community,” Carl said. “I’ve been able to grow because of [my little brother], and I hope he’s been able to grow because of me as well.” That’s exactly the kind of student Mette wanted in his scholars.
Donors have helped Carl clear his final hurdle to becoming a dentist, and he hasn’t forgotten the lessons he learned as an athlete about team building and service.
“I really believe in the quote ‘lift as you climb.’ When others are willing to sacrifice their money to be able to finance your education, it’s only right that when you’re in a place to financially sustain others, that you lift them up,” Carl said.