University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren announced today that Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation has made the largest single gift ever to the OU College of Dentistry – a $3.2 million lead gift toward the renovation of the college’s building.
The gift is part of the $20 million Legacy Project capital campaign, the largest private fundraising effort in the college’s history, to create a state-of-the-art facility to train tomorrow’s dental professionals. The Delta Dental gift increases to $9.6 million the funding raised to date toward the first phase of renovating the dentistry building.
“The entire University is deeply grateful for the exceptional gifts by Delta Dental of Oklahoma to the College of Dentistry,” said OU President David L. Boren. “It is truly a transformative gift which will help keep our college among the very best in the nation.”
Boren noted that in appreciation of the gift, he is recommending that the OU Board of Regents name the dentistry building’s Comprehensive Care Clinics Floor for Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation.
“Our business and our Oral Health Foundation depend on having a supply of the best trained dentists throughout the state,” said John Gladden, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Oklahoma. “Having a dental school in our state means we have more dentists across the state, which positively impacts the oral health of our population. Our gift – which is the largest in our history and will be disbursed over a 10-year period – is both an endorsement of the quality of education provided by the OU College of Dentistry, as well as support of new technologies and the teamwork approach for better oral care in the future.”
The College of Dentistry building, located on Stonewall Avenue in Oklahoma City, has been home to OU’s dentistry students, faculty, and staff since 1976. During that time, only minor renovations and technology upgrades have been made to the facility.
“These significant renovations will ensure the college remains competitive with other national dental schools in technology and contribute to further enhancing the overall quality of oral health care in this region,” said Stephen K. Young, DDS, dean of the OU College of Dentistry. “These renovations will help to meet the growing and evolving needs of our students and ensure that the College of Dentistry continues its tradition of providing an outstanding, challenging education and state-of-the-art training environment.”
The Comprehensive Care Clinics Floor will be a cornerstone of the renovation project and will support the College of Dentistry’s comprehensive care clinical approach to dental education by giving students a real-world professional environment in which to work and learn.
The Comprehensive Care Clinics Floor will be composed of three clinics, which will be remodeled into nine comprehensive group practices. These practices will consist of a group of students led by faculty mentors, with students spending an entire semester in a single practice, coordinating each aspect of a patient’s oral health care as they would in a practice setting. Because patients will be assigned to a group practice, seeing the same student practitioners, they will be able to complete treatment more quickly and efficiently.
Architectural firm Bockus Payne Associates Architects will oversee the renovation.
Other areas to undergo extensive refurbishment during the first phase include the first-floor commons, reception area and foyer, student locker rooms and lounge. A new grand atrium also will be added to the first floor and will open onto the existing courtyard.
Planned future construction phases will include renovation to various specialty clinic areas, including those supporting periodontics, orthodontics, endodontic and pedodontic training.
Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Delta Dental of Oklahoma serves more than 700,000 eligible members in more than 3,000 companies. Delta Dental of Oklahoma has contributed millions of dollars to dental health- and education-related programs through its foundation. In addition to the $3.2 million for capital support, Delta Dental has provided more than $1.6 million to the College of Dentistry for scholarships, equipment and technology needs, and community service opportunities, including providing care for uninsured and underinsured populations.
The OU College of Dentistry is home to the state’s only doctor of dental surgery program and baccalaureate degree program in dental hygiene. More than 60 percent of Oklahoma’s dentists are graduates of the OU College of Dentistry. The college provides general dental care and specialty care to Oklahomans through student, resident and faculty practice clinics.
Since the first class of dentistry students began their studies in 1972, the OU College of Dentistry has established a reputation of training its students to provide the highest quality of clinical care available. The training program provides students with extensive opportunities to learn and develop proficiency through practice in both simulation and patient clinic settings. The OU College of Dentistry has graduated more than 2,000 dentists with an estimated 65% who went on to practice in Oklahoma.