Alumni, former dean endow Dental School scholarship fund

(Left to right) Herbert Pearce, Dental School donor from New Haven, Conn.; Stephanie Jackson, D.D.S., president-elect of the Dental School Alumni Association; Martha Wood, Ph.D., Pearce’s wife and former interim dean of the Dental School; and George Knight, current Alumni Association president, celebrate the new Martha Wood/Dental School Alumni Association Student Scholarship Endowment.

San Antonio (Jan. 14, 2004) – A new $100,000 scholarship endowment will support outstanding students in the Dental School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The fund is named the Martha Wood/Dental School Alumni Association Student Scholarship Endowment.

The donors are Martha W. Wood, Ph.D., a former Health Science Center administrator who served as interim dean of the Dental School from 1981 to 1983; her husband, Herbert H. Pearce, who owns a real estate company in New Haven, Conn.; and the Dental School Alumni Association. The fund is to be used at the discretion of the Dental School to support financially needy and academically gifted dental students.

“Education is the future of our country,” Pearce said. “We are glad to find students who are worthy of supporting in this way.”

The Connecticut couple donated two-thirds of the endowment and the Dental School Alumni Association donated $33,333. Alumni Association President George T. Knight, D.D.S., associate professor of general dentistry at the Health Science Center, said the provision of scholarships to attract the best students is a great way to ensure the continuing quality of the Dental School, which was ranked tops in the last ranking of U.S. dental schools conducted by U.S. News & World Report. The Dental School continues to win top awards for research.

“It is so important to bring the best and brightest students into our Dental School and to recognize financial assistance is part of the equation,” said Kenneth L. Kalkwarf, D.D.S., dean of the Dental School. “Herbert, Martha and the Alumni Association have done just that.”

“I am so pleased the Alumni Association wanted to participate,” Dr. Wood said.

Pearce also donated $100,000 to the Dental School in 1999 to begin the Martha Wood Scholarship Fund. Dr. Wood, now a national consultant, was the longtime executive assistant to Health Science Center Presidents Frank Harrison, M.D., Ph.D., and John P. Howe, III, M.D., before retiring in 1997. While back in San Antonio, she and her husband had the chance to meet dental students selected to benefit from the award given in her name.

The Dental School Alumni Association seeks to match private donations for two additional $100,000 scholarship programs. For more information, call A. Ray Dent, director of development for the Dental School, at (210) 567-6423.

From 1987 to 2002, Health Science Center students won an impressive 89 student research awards from the American Association for Dental Research. The annual competition is open to students from the 56 U.S. dental schools. The University of Michigan placed second with 56 awards, followed by the University of Iowa with 34 and Harvard with 27. The Dental School also fared well in other national and international research competitions.

The Dental School is one of the few nationwide to be designated both a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center and a Hispanic Center of Excellence. The WHO Collaborating Center translates oral health sciences into clinical and public health practice. The Hispanic Center of Excellence seeks to enhance academic performance, recruit and retain minority faculty, facilitate faculty and student research, expand information resources and curriculum, and provide community-based clinical training opportunities to dental students.

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