Skip to main content

Dozoretz Leaves Legacy of Success​

The First of a Two Part Series. Part Two of the series will follow in the next edition of BEHOLD and will focus on the continued impact of Dr. Dozoretz’s legacy and generosity.

Dozoretz Leaves Legacy of Success​Dameron L. Jones ’91 was valedictorian of her graduating high school class. Yet, despite her outstanding academic honors, she could not afford to attend college. Instead, she planned to join the Air Force, serve her country and earn her degree while in service.

But fate stepped in. A high school friend had interviewed for an academic scholarship program at Norfolk State University and recommended her as well. Jones took the interview, was accepted into the program with a full four-year scholarship. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and went on to earn a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Penn State University. Today, Jones is a Patent Examiner at the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

Her story is not unique. In fact, Jones is representative of the hundreds of students who have been part of Norfolk State University’s Dozoretz National Institute for Mathematics and Applied Sciences (DNIMAS) Program. Established in 1985, the Dozoretz National Institute is a highly successful and rigorous honors program for science, engineering, and mathematics majors.

In the 1980s, amid a push for more scientists and engineers, National Science Foundation studies pointed to the underrepresentation of Blacks and other ethnic minorities working in the field and in science and engineering graduate degree programs. Against that backdrop, NSU’s second president Dr. Harrison B. Wilson Jr. conceived a program with a goal of addressing the severe shortage of minority scientists.

The program would produce graduates capable of successfully completing graduate studies in the basic and applied sciences, and/or entering occupations in industry, government and education.
President Wilson reached out to local psychiatrist and philanthropist Dr. Ronald I. Dozoretz to help bring his idea to fruition. Because he was also a visionary and believed in the power of education, Dr. Dozoretz became the first major benefactor of the Institute that has borne his name for 33 years. On May 8, 2020, Dr. Dozoretz passed away at the age of 85. But his legacy lives on through the DNIMAS Program and the many Dozoretz scholars and alumni who fulfill their potential.

Jones has two memories of meeting Dr. Dozoretz. The most memorable time was a DNIMAS alumni celebration of the program’s 30th Anniversary. “Dr. Dozoretz and his wife Beth accepted our invitation,” she said. “I was able to thank them both and to share my story.”

For Jones, her DNIMAS journey gave her not just a high-quality education, but the confidence to go beyond what she first dreamed of being. “I remember constantly being told that we could not just do enough to get by, but that we needed to be at our best so that when we left NSU, it would not be a question of whether or not we could compete with the best schools in the nation.”

Andria Chapman-Taliaferro D.D.S. (BS ’93) knew she wanted to be a dentist and was impressed by the success of the DNIMAS program. “The directors, professors, students, and alumni form a strong network that is conducive to success,” she said. “When you graduate from Norfolk State University, and you are a DNIMAS student, you are equipped with the tools you need to compete successfully on the graduate and doctoral levels of any professional program,” said Chapman-Taliaferro, who is president of Thimble Shoals Dental Center. For Chapman-Taliaferro, who graduated in 1993, DNIMAS has been a family affair.

“Twenty-three years later my daughter, Cariana Taliaferro Clanton, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from NSU and DNIMAS in 2016 and graduated from medical school this year as a doctor of osteopathic medicine. The educational benefits of the DNIMAS scholarship,
through the auspices of Dr. Dozoretz, have been invaluable to my family in attaining our professional goals.”

She too met Dr. Dozoretz on two occasions. Once at the DNIMAS 30th Anniversary celebration and the second by happenstance. “My mother and I were walking in City Center in Virginia Beach, when a
gentleman walked by. I told my mom, ‘that looks like Dr. Dozoretz.’ Of course, she boldly calls out his name, ‘Dr. Dozoretz!’ He kindly comes toward us as she proceeds to tell him how she had always wanted to meet him and wanted to thank him for the DNIMAS scholarship for her daughter and granddaughter. He charismatically kisses her on the hand as he accepts her words of gratitude. He was very gracious.”

Cle Jones ’91, who is married to Dameron, is also a DNIMAS graduate. He had set his sights on becoming an engineer but needed financial assistance for college and DNIMAS was there to help. Cle earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and earned a Master of Science in Engineering from Penn State as well. Cle, who is currently the Logistics Unit Chief at the FBI, says this about DNIMAS, “In addition to the financial benefit, it is a great program because it places like-minded
students together for motivation and support. We had many of the same classes together, and lived in the same dorms to facilitate being able to study together. We were also afforded the opportunity to apply for and attend prestigious internships with such institutions as NASA, MIT, Harvard and NIST.”
Just as Dameron and Chapman-Taliaferro attest to, Cle says that DNIMAS is more than a mere means to an end.

“Making it through the DNIMAS program gave me the confidence and ability to achieve
further goals in life. Being among such intelligent and ambitious African American students helped me realize the potential that I had to succeed.”

Because DNIMAS played such an enormous role in shaping them personally and professionally, in 2015 several DNIMAS graduates formed a DNIMAS Alumni Chapter as part of the NSU Alumni Association. Cle is the current president. The Chapter’s mission is to support the DNIMAS
program by contributing to an endowment established to provide supplemental funding for DNIMAS students, mentoring and assisting DNIMAS students with their academic pursuits and career objectives,
and promoting the program nationally to attract interest and support. The Chapter also presents yearly scholarships to DNIMAS students.

Chapman-Taliaferro and Cle and Dameron Jones remember Dr. Dozoretz as having a calm, approachable and gracious demeanor. They say at the 30th Anniversary celebration that he and Mrs.
Dozoretz went around the room and met each DNIMAS alumnus and listened to their story.
DNIMAS Director Dr. Aliecia R. McClain worked in partnership with Dr. Dozoretz for 15 years. “He dedicated his life and work to the betterment of the lives of students seeking degrees in the STEM
(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) areas at Norfolk State University,” McClain wrote in a tribute to him.

“He would always tell me that his goal was to provide students with the opportunity to get
an education, and in doing so, their worlds would open up to many more opportunities for their lives.”