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Academic Health Center Oral History Project

About the School of Dentistry

Established in 1888, the University of Minnesota College of Dentistry was the eighth dentistry school associated with a University in the country. The School for Dental Hygienists was started in 1920 in response to a growing need for preventive dental care. In 1937 a graduate degree program was started. In the 1950s, continuing dental education became a greater focus for the school, offering over 300 courses to members of the dental community. In 1970, the College of Dentistry was officially included in the Health Sciences organization of the University and was eventually provided with teaching, laboratory and clinical space within other Health Sciences facilities. In 1983 a new Hospital Dentistry Clinic was constructed on campus.

Please click here for the School of Dentistry timeline.

Bakdash, Bashar

BBakdash Pic.jpg Dr. Bashar Bakdash arrived at the University of Minnesota in 1974 and held a dual appointment in the School of Dentistry and the School of Public Health. In 1988, Dr. Bakdash became director of the Division of Periodontology. At the time of his interview, Dr. Bakdash was serving as interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in addition to his position as professor and director of the Division of Periodontology.

Dehn, Donna Aker

Donna Aker Dehn earned her certificate as a Graduate Dental Hygienist (G.D.H.) from the University of Minnesota in 1953. She also earned her bachelor's degree in art from the University. She became a dental hygiene instructor in 1954 and served from 1954 to 1955 as the director of the Dental Assisting Program that same year. Though she stopped teaching in 1960, Mrs. Dehn returned to the Dental School in 1967 to serve as director of the Dental Hygiene Program. She became an associate professor in 1973. She served as professor and program director until her retirement in 1985.

DeLong, Ralph

RDeLong.jpgDr. Ralph DeLong earned his Ph.D. in physics (1974), his D.D.S. (1978), and his M.S. in fixed and removable prosthodontics (1981), all from the University of Minnesota. He then became a professor within the School of Dentistry. He served as chair of the Department of Restorative Sciences from 1992 to 1997 and then interim chair from 2003 onward. Since 2004, he has served as director of the Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics.

Douglas, William

WDouglas.jpgDr. William Douglas became a professor in the University of Minnesota's School of Dentistry and director of the Biomaterials Program in 1978. Dr. Douglas also created the Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics (MDRCBB) in 1990. He retired in 2006.

Liljemark, William

WLiljemark.jpg Dr. William Liljemark completed his undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota in 1963. He went on to complete his D.D.S. (1966) and his Ph.D. (1969) at the University as well. In 1971, he became a professor with a joint appointment in the University's School of Dentistry and the Department of Microbiology. He served in several administrative positions within the School, including chairman and director of the Department of Diagnostic and Surgical Services and interim dean. Dr. Liljemark retired in 2005.

Moller, Karlind T.

Karlind Moller.jpgDr. Karlind Moller earned his bachelor's degree in speech pathology in 1965 and his doctorate in speech pathology and audiology at the University of Minnesota in 1970. After completing a fellowship with the National Institute for Dental Research, he returned to the University's faculty in 1973 with a dual appointment in the Department of Communication Disorders and the School of Dentistry. He became director of the Cleft Palate Clinic in 1977. He served the School and the Clinic for over thirty years, until his retirement in 2003.

Newell, Kathleen

KNewell.jpgKathleen Newell earned her graduate dental hygiene degree in 1968, her bachelor's in 1971, master's in education in 1976, and her doctorate in education in 1987, all from the University of Minnesota. Beginning as a teaching assistant in the Program of Dental Hygiene in the Dental School in 1969, Dr. Newell's growing academic achievements positioned her for promotion. She became director of the Division of Dental Hygiene in 1984. She retired in 2005 but continued to serve the Dental School and the Division of Dental Hygiene in smaller capacities, earning the Alumni Service Award from the University in 2013.

Oliver, Richard

ROliver.jpgRichard Oliver earned his degree in dentistry from the University of Minnesota in 1953. After completing military service and then pursuing further training, private practice, and an academic career in Southern California, Dr. Oliver returned to Minnesota to assume the deanship at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. He stepped down as dean in 1986, but continued on as a member of the faculty and became a visiting scientist at the NIH. He retired in 1996.

Pintado, Maria

MPintado Pic.jpg Maria Pintado completed her bachelor's degree in dental auxiliary education in 1972 and then taught in the program. Upon the closure of the dental assisting program in 1982, the School retained Ms. Pintado. She continued to teach and began working with Dr. William Douglas on biomaterials research while concurrently pursuing a master's degree in public health, which she completed in 1986. She continues to work as an investigator in the Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics (MDRCBB).

Shapiro, Burton L.

BShapiro.jpgDr. Burton Shapiro completed his master's degree in oral pathology at the University of Minnesota in 1962 and his Ph.D. in genetics in 1966. He became an associate professor in the University's Dental School in 1966 and conducted research on a number of topics, including Down syndrome, exfoliative cytology, programmed cell death, and cystic fibrosis. Dr. Shapiro also served the University on several committees, including the Faculty Consultative Committee, and the Faculty Senate. He retired in 2005.

Till, Michael

MTill.jpgDr. Michael Till joined the University of Minnesota's School of Dentistry in 1969. He served as chair of Pediatric Dentistry and as dean of the School from 1996 to 2000.