A conversation with Dr. J. Randall Marshall
By Lawrence Knight
‘’According to Webster’s dictionary the word ‘excellence’ is defined as the quality of being outstanding or extremely good… What we can learn from Webster’s is excellence by definition isn’t about what you do, it’s how you do it and even more so why you do it. You don’t have to be a lawyer or doctor to achieve excellence. Excellence is a quality that can be obtained by anyone who works consistently toward their goals and dedicates themselves to development of their craft.”
When I first picked up the phone to call Dr. Marshall for our pre-scheduled interview, I had intended on asking him a series of pre-written questions I thought would give readers interesting insight into what it’s like being a dentist. Though we did speak about his career a bit, what was supposed to be a 20 minute interview quickly evolved into an hour long conversation about life, family, education and the importance of helping others.
During our conversation, I quickly realized that Dr. Marshall isn’t a man who is defined by his profession. In fact he decided to pursue a career in dentistry to fulfill his true childhood passion of helping others. Dr. Marshall stated, “I knew at a young age I wanted to help people; dentistry is just how I go about doing it.” As far as legacy is concerned, Dr. Marshall wants to be remembered by how he treated others; he values people above everything else.
As our discussion progressed, Dr. Marshall spoke on the vital role his family played in nurturing his passion at a young age. He received an abundance of support from both his mother and father throughout his childhood, which helped him develop a strong sense of moral character. Dr. Marshall’s parents also served as a major source of inspiration for him when he decided to enroll at the College of Charleston to study biology.
He later graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology. After receiving his degree Dr. Marshall quickly enrolled into dental school at the Medical University of South Carolina where he received a Doctorate of Dental Medicine degree after completing his residency. “The main reason I was able to finish my education was the fact that I didn’t want to let the people who invested in me down. I didn’t want them to feel like they had wasted their time.”
When I asked Dr. Marshall about the specifics of his college education, he humbly paid homage to the professional mentors he understudied with during his training. They’re guidance provided Dr. Marshall with an opportunity to receive hands-on experience alongside working professionals. He emphasized how his mentorship was an invaluable experience, because it taught him the ins and outs of his profession.
Nowadays, you can find Dr. Marshall working alongside his staff in his dental office in Charlotte, N.C. where he continues to provide outstanding dental care to each and every one of his patients. Dr. Marshall and his staff have committed themselves to creating a pristine environment where patients don’t feel like they’re in a medical office. He explained, “…we hired an interior decorator to help us design our office. We considered every single detail down to the smell of the office… patients are able to watch television on flat screens and access Wi-Fi, while they wait in a comfortable environment to be seen by our staff.”
On behalf of the entire Westside Gazette family, I would like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Marshall for setting aside time to speak with me. I would also like to personally thank him for his life-long commitment to helping people and wish him continued success in his pursuit of excellence.