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Academic Health Center Oral History Project

School of Dentistry Timeline

1888 University of Minnesota College of Dentistry is established. Twenty-two students registered for the first year, including two women
1892 William Xavier Sudduth, who had been secretary of the College of Medicine and Surgery, is named dean
1894 The Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree was changed to a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) degree in order to emphasize the medical nature of the course of study. The degree was changed back to a D.D.S. in 1904
1895 Dean Sudduth retires and Thomas E. Weeks, who had already taught dentistry for 12 years, is named dean
1897 Dean Weeks steps down and Cyrus W. Northrop, University president at the time, acts as dean
1899 William P. Dickinson named acting dean and was appointed dean in 1900. He began his career at the University of Minnesota in 1891
1905 Alfred Owre becomes dean. He had been a student in the College from 1891-1894
1906 A six-year academic/dental course is introduced. Students receive a B.A. through College of Liberal Arts and a D.D.S. degree from the College of Dentistry
1915 The College switches to a four-year course of study
1919 The School for Dental Nurses is organized
1927 Alfred Owre resigns his position to become dean of Columbia's School of Dental and Oral Surgery. William F. Lasby, who originally joined the faculty in January 1908, is appointed dean
1932 The new Medical Sciences building is completed for the College of Dentistry facilities
1934 The "College of Dentistry" is renamed the "School of Dentistry," because, in Dean Lasby's words, "This conforms with the designation most frequently used in institutions requiring two years or more of college work for admission"
1939 The M.S. degree program is announced after being proposed in 1937
1942 In response to WWII, accelerated D.D.S. programs began in dental schools across the country, including at the University of Minnesota, in order to rapidly increase the number of dentists for both military and civilian needs
1945 Dean Lasby retires and William H. Crawford, who had been dean of the School of Dentistry at Indiana University, is named dean
1956 Doctoral program begins, leading to a Ph.D. degree in a basic science with a minor in dentistry
1957 The Cleft Palate Maxillofacial Program is founded at the Sister Kenny Institute in collaboration with dentists at the University. The clinic moved to the University in 1964
1963 The post-sophomore D.D.S., Ph.D. program begins, allowing "highly qualified" students, after their first year of dental school, to spend the next three years completing the requirements for the D.D.S. degree, and the following three years completing requirements for the Ph.D. degree. Dean Crawford resigns his position. Mellor R. Holland, who had been a faculty member since 1948, is named acting dean
1964 Erwin M. Schaffer is named dean and professor of periodontics
1966 The Division of Preventive Dentistry, the Division of Human and Oral Genetics, and the Comprehensive Oral Health Care Program were founded
1968 The Oral Biology Unit is established. With the Medical School, a program was initiated to recruit racial minority students
1970 The University's previously autonomous College of Pharmacy and School of Dentistry are reorganized, together with the Schools of Nursing, Medicine, and Public Health, and the University Hospitals, into a centrally organized and administered academic health center (AHC) referred to as the Health Sciences
1972 A flexible degree program is instated, in place of the four-year course of study, in which students have the option to finish the D.D.S. degree in three years
1977 Schaffer steps down as dean. Richard Charles Oliver is appointed dean after being dean at the University of Southern California
1979 The School of Dentistry approves its Constitution which called for the formation of 13 departments from the 26 existing divisions
1982 The flexible three-year program is discontinued and the regular four-year curriculum is reinstated. The dental auxiliary program closes
1983 The new Hospital Dentistry Clinic is completed
1985 The Private Practice Associateship program begins to help place graduates and private practitioners in associateships
1986 Dean Oliver resigns his position and Richard P. Elzay, who had been in the Department of Oral Pathology, Medical College of Virginia School of Dentistry, is named dean
1987 The Advisory Task Force on Planning recommends that the School of Dentistry be closed (as well as the College of Veterinary Medicine), coming as a complete surprise to faculty, students and alumni. The School is not closed
1996 Richard Elzay resigns his position. Michael Till is named interim dean
1997 Michael Till is appointed to a two-year term as permanent dean
2000 Dean Till retires. Peter Polverini, who had been the chair of the department of pathology, and oncology at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, is named dean
2003 Dean Polverini returns to the University of Michigan School of Dentistry to serve as dean. Dr. William Liljemark, director of the Department of Diagnostic and Surgical Services, serves as interim dean
2004 Patrick Lloyd, who had previously been at Marquette University and the University of Iowa, is named dean
2011 Dean Lloyd resigns his position to become dean of the Ohio State University College of Dentistry and director of dentistry for the Ohio State University Medical Center. Dr. Judith Buchanan, associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Dentistry, is appointed interim dean
2012 Leon A. Assael, who was professor and chairman of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the School of Dentistry at Oregon Health and Science University, is named dean

*Timeline based on: Mellor R. Holland, A History of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry: 1888-1988, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, 1993.