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AAE Foundation Awards $100K Grant for Ludington Professorship at UTDB
The AAE (American Association of Endodontists) Foundation has awarded its first Endowed Faculty Matching Grant to the Department of Endodontics at The University of Texas Dental Branch. The $100,000 contribution will fully fund the John R. Ludington Jr., D.D.S., M.S.D., Distinguished Professorship in Endodontics.
The professorship, honoring former longtime department chair John R. Ludington, D.D.S., will support the program's yet-to-be-named predoctoral director of endodontics in the department currently chaired by Samuel O. Dorn, D.D.S., an AAE past president. The foundation's contribution was made possible by matching gifts and pledges from the university's generous alumni. UTDB Development Director John Greer said approximately 10 other donors have contributed to the professorship.
The Ludington Professorship becomes only the third faculty endowment at the Dental Branch and represents a success for the school's Open to Health initiative chaired by Houston endodontist Stephen Schwartz, D.D.S., M.S., (UTDB '68, '70), who is also a special advisor to the dean and adjunct clinical professor.
"This type of matching gift was only made possible by alumni stepping up to the plate with their personal pledges in excess of $150,000," he said. "It readily becomes apparent the value they place on their specialty education by such a generous effort and the compounding effect of the match by the AAE."
The current Department of Endodontics chairman, Sam Dorn, D.D.S., thanked the AAE Foundation.
"This is grant is another example of the generosity of the AAE Foundation in supporting endodontic education," Dorn said. "We're very grateful to them and to our alumni for completing the John R. Ludington, Jr. Endowed Professorship, which will enable us to attract a full -time faculty member to serve as predoctoral director."
Ludington officially retired in 2008 after 26 years at UTDB, but he came back only a few weeks later to oversee the department until Dorn could arrive and get settled. Now, Ludington is looking at retiring for real, but that may depend on whether UTDB can recruit enough endodontics faculty. "It's difficult to attract endodontists to the teaching arena," he said. "They all want to be in private practice, so having this prestigious extra incentive will be an encouragement to them."
The AAE Foundation introduced the Endowed Faculty Matching Grant in 2008. The award provides an annual opportunity for endodontics programs to receive up to $100,000 that can be used to support an endowed faculty position at their institution. The goal is to promote academic excellence and to help ensure that endodontics will be taught by specialists. The grant is also intended to boost the recipient institution's fundraising capacity.
"We hope this grant will stimulate fundraising efforts at endodontic departments across the country," said AAE Foundation President Dr. A. Eddy Skidmore. "Our goal is to ensure that every dental student has the opportunity to learn about endodontics from a specialist and that endodontics is a significant presence in dental schools."
The Ludington Professorship is the first of two endowments being created in support of the Department of Endodontics. More than $150,000 has been given or pledged to the Dr. Frank B. Trice Chair in Endodontics, which has a minimum requirement of $500,000. The endowment is in memory of the late Frank B. Trice, D.D.S., the first chair of the department. He was also a past president of the American Association of Endodontists and was a friend, mentor and teacher to decades of UTDB students.
"Frank will always be remembered for helping students at every turn," Schwartz said. "There may have never been a more beloved professor by his students than Frank Trice was, and a chair in his honor will provide a lasting tribute to his dedication to endodontics, the profession of dentistry and to this school."
By Rhonda Moran, Dental Branch