Dr. Claude Randolph Williams, Sr.
Dr. Claude Randolph Williams, Sr., the first African-American orthodontist in the southwest region of the United States, received his doctor of dental surgery degree from Howard University in 1954 and a Certificate in Orthodontics in 1970. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1954 to 1956 and went on to serve in the U.S. Naval Reserves, retiring in 1981 at the rank of captain. While in the Naval Reserves, he was awarded the Outstanding Commanding Officer – 4th Marine Air Wing.
Dr. Williams currently serves as director of community outreach services at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry, where he joined the orthodontic faculty in 1971. He maintained a private orthodontic practice in South Dallas for nearly 30 years, retiring in 2000.
Over the years, Dr. Williams has served as a mentor and role model for underserved, underrepresented students pursuing careers in dentistry. He founded and has directed what has become one of Baylor College of Dentistry’s most acclaimed outreach initiatives: the Summer Predental Enrichment Program, now known as Bridge to Dentistry. This program allows secondary and post-secondary students to strengthen their academic background and become more competitive for admission into dental college. He also has been an active supporter of the Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program sponsored by Texas State Sen. Royce West. This summer internship and professional development program serves local college students from underserved communities.
A leader locally and nationally in the dental profession, Dr. Williams is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics, and the Southwestern Society of Orthodontists. He has held leadership roles in the Continental Orthodontic Study Club, the M.C. Cooper Dental Society and the National Dental Association. Dr. Williams was extended an invitation to join the American College of Dentists and was inducted in October 2011.
Dr. Williams has received numerous awards including the National Dental Association’s Civil Rights Award and the Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters Legion of Honor Award. He received the Gulf State Dental Association Distinguished Award for Teaching Excellence, Service to Students and the Dental Profession. He also received the National Dental Association Foundation/Colgate-Palmolive Faculty Recognition Award and the NDA Presidential Citation Award.
Dr. Williams’ other civic engagements include service on the National Dental Health Week speakers’ bureau and leadership roles with Sigma Pi Phi Boule, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the NAACP, Naval Reserve Officers Association, Military Order of the World Wars, and the administrative board of Hamilton Park United Methodist Church.