Message from the Dean

WHEN I WAS SEARCHING for a prosthodontic residency, I found two good fits. The one that seemed ideal and closer to home cost more than three times the other program and, for me, cost was a real consideration. Following my interview there, the chair extended an acceptance into the program, but I explained I had another interview at a school with a much lower cost. He went to meet with the dean and when he returned, he said the dean would extend a full-tuition scholarship. The one caveat: I had to accept on the spot. I did, but as the first year came to an end, I became concerned the scholarship may have only been for one year, as I had nothing in writing. Slightly panicked, I set up a meeting with the dean. He said, “Son, I made the offer for as long as you are here, and it is for your entire program.” Certainly, his offer was a personal relief, but also a very important lesson. The kindness and generosity of others has both an immediate and practical impact, but can also lead to life-changing experiences. I was able to finish my residency and continue a career trajectory to become a dean, which may not have been possible without the charity of others. In this issue, we have the opportunity to highlight some of that benevolence at the School of Dentistry, including a $30 million gift from the Sunderland Foundation to jump start the fundraising efforts for the new Health Sciences District Building (page 7). We are also pleased to announce a generous endowment from the family of the late Dan Root, an impactful gift for students from rural areas. Find out more on page 4. In addition, we are thrilled to recognize the generous gift from GEHA Solutions. These scholarships and fellowships will support the development of a culturally diverse student body and profession. Both of these scholarships will not only help students with the ever-rising cost of dental and dental hygiene education, but will also aid areas of need within the industry. Both are remarkable examples of generosity that have an immediate and lasting impact. We appreciate the generosity and support of all our donors and friends who contribute to the school and its mission. The annual welcoming of new residents and dental and dental hygiene students marked the traditional start of the school year — and the football season — here in Kansas City. Enjoy a fun piece on page 12 featuring some of our talented alumni who were able to tackle (pun-intended) both school and professional-level athletics successfully. Along with welcoming a talented and enthusiastic student body, a key administrative appointment has been made: Dr. Lance Godley is now associate dean for clinical affairs. He makes an excellent addition and will be an important voice as we shape the future of the school. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention how remarkable it is to be a part of an event marking the 100th anniversary of a dental school alumni association meeting. Momentous and amazing do not even begin to describe such an occasion. Make plans to celebrate with us April 13–16, 2023, and be sure to watch for your registration brochure! The longer I am at UMKC, the more I see the incredible talent and commitment of our students, faculty and staff. The loyalty of our alumni and friends is second to none, and your generosity is important to the school’s promising future. This issue of Explorer speaks to the impact of your support. Take a moment and relish our accomplishments and the contributions you’ve made.

With gratitude,

Steven E. Haas, D.M.D., J.D., MBA Dean, UMKC School of Dentistry