Career Evolution with a Legacy Twist

Malcolm Taylor

They say careers are evolutions. For Malcolm Taylor, that evolution meant following in the footsteps of his father, Ray M. Taylor, DDS—a choice that then led Malcolm's sons, Nathaniel and Jonathan, into dentistry as well.

Malcolm Taylor (DEN ’92) began his journey at Baylor University in the pre-dentistry program. But when his circumstances changed, he transferred to a school in his hometown of Oklahoma City, where he completed a degree in psychology. After graduating in 1972, he began a career in the apparel industry managing manufacturing plants for the popular clothing brands Wrangler and Munsingwear.

When he began, there were 12 million U.S. jobs in the industry. By the time he departed 16 years later, there were only 1 million U.S. jobs. Seeing the writing on the wall, he made the difficult decision to change careers. So he attended the University of Central Oklahoma to take the required science classes needed to matriculate into dental school and follow in his father’s footsteps.

“By the time I decided to pursue dentistry, I was older than the average student, and I learned Case Western Reserve’s dental school welcomed non-traditional students," Malcolm Taylor recalled. Taylor and his wife, Peggy, had three young children at the time; she worked full time as a nurse at University Hospitals and cared for the family while he went to dental school, Malcolm Taylor said.

Their oldest son, Nathaniel (DEN ’08), also decided to choose dentistry as a career. While in college at Bowling Green State University, he was originally undecided on a career path. After evaluating his options, it quickly became clear that dentistry was the path he wanted to pursue.

“Seeing my dad go through dental school and hearing him speak fondly of his time there, as well as seeing the fulfillment he gets from practicing dentistry, influenced my decision to become a dentist,” Nathaniel Taylor said.

Nathaniel Taylor worked part time for his father for two years before he and his wife, Amberlee Taylor (DEN ’08; CERT ’09, ’12), opened their own practice. They have three children, Ave, Savannah and Joshua.

After Malcolm Taylor's youngest son, Jonathan (DEN '16), graduated from University of Akron with a degree in business administration, he began working in sales. But he quickly realized that was not a career path he wanted to follow—and he saw how excited his brother and father were about dentistry.

So, like his father, Jonathan Taylor decided to change careers into dentistry—a career he felt would be fulfilling, challenging and rewarding. Knowing his father had been accepted into Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine as a non-traditional student, he aspired to do the same. He took the required pre-dental courses at Cleveland State University and was accepted into the Class of 2016.

“When you have the opportunity, try as hard as you can for the changes you want to make," Jonathan Taylor said. "In the end, hard work and determination will overcome the obstacles along the way.”

After graduation, Jonathan Taylor worked alongside his father for three years before purchasing his practice in 2019. Now, he works alongside his wife, Amy, who is office manager; the couple has a 2-year-old, Gracie.

Dentistry is clearly a family business for the Taylors; Malcolm and Peggy's daughter, Jennifer, is a dental hygienist, and some of the couple's eight grandchildren already have expressed interest in pursuing dentistry in their careers.