First black female MUSC grad honored by hospital

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) - For the last 28 years, Dr. Rose Delores Gibbs has been a staple in the Moncks Corner medical community.

"When I was{} a little girl, we did have an African American doctor in Moncks Corner, Dr. Walter Evans," said Dr. Gibbs. "I was just fascinated with what he did. And, I decided this is what I wanted to do."

Gibbs says she wasn't even 10 years old when she made that decision, but it's one she carried with her through school.

"I went to boarding school in Camden South Carolina," said Dr. Gibbs. "It was there I really fine-tuned my sciences and biology. And, it was there that I learned about Fisk University in Tennessee."

Gibbs matriculated through Fisk and was accepted into the Medical University of South Carolina.

"I did not realize that I would be the only African American woman in the class of 1973. And, even going through, I didn't stop to think about the fact that this is something special."

Gibbs became the first black woman to graduate from the medical college.

"There were some pluses and there were some minuses," said Gibbs. "I spent a lot of time focuses on my studies. So, it was the studies that kept me going."

From there, Gibbs' career took her to D.C., Los Angeles, West Africa and the Caribbean.

"I came out of a high-powered internal medicine residency with various specialists at your beckon call. But when I got overseas, I was it. So, I always have to thank that experience for helping me to feel a great level of comfort of coming into a rural area and practicing medicine."

In 1986, Gibbs decided to move back home and open a private practice. Gibbs says back then, the small town needed her.

"When I came back, there were three doctors in Moncks Corner. One shortly retired and then there were two of us," she said.

Gibbs says there are perks to caring for people in your hometown.

"It helps me to know where a person is going once they leave this office," Gibbs said. "To know the conditions that they are going to, I know that I need to take additional steps to make sure that this person is going to get what they need."

Now, MUSC is honoring her dedication to rural and preventive medicine by naming an endowed scholarship in her honor.

"I was once asked 'Do I feel special going to MUSC and having graduated?' and my answer was no. I think that what I did could have been done by anybody who had the will, who had the goal, who had the focus," she said.

Gibbs says her scholarship will be awarded based on need. She hopes to give the opportunity of medicine to anyone who seeks it, despite financial status.

"To the little girl or perhaps the little boy also growing up in any part of rural America, I would say if this is your heart, if this is your dream, certainly pursue it," she said.

Gibbs says she hopes to award her first scholarship this fall.

If you would like to donate to MUSC on behalf of Dr. Gibbs go to{}and click on the Online Giving button on the right.{}

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