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Department of Orthodontics celebrates milestone anniversary and supporters

Program 50 years old with 18 endowments

There is plenty to celebrate this month for the Department of Orthodontics at West Virginia University School of Dentistry.

First and foremost was that alumni could reunite for a milestone. In 2020, COVID-19 forced the postponement of the department’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Hosted by longtime department chair, Dr. Peter Ngan, more than 80 alumni and residents participated in the continuing education Friday, September 10. Dr. Neal Kravitz delivered the course on “A Collection of Pearls for Your Practice.” Dr. Kravitz practices in Chantilly, Virginia. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and member of the Dr. Edward Angle Honor Society.

A day of learning was followed by a banquet for orthodontic alumni, guests and leadership from the School of Dentistry and WVU Foundation. President Gordon Gee presented a toast congratulating guests for their part in a successful program.

Dr. Louise Veselicky gave a welcoming speech on behalf of the HSC and the Provost’s team. Dr. Stephen Pachuta, the school’s first alumnus to serve as permanent dean, praised the contributors for their support of the School of Dentistry and the Department of Orthodontics. Dr. Hera Kim returned from Michigan to share her experience as an educator. She was the first faculty member hired by Dr. Ngan after he assumed the Chair position in 1994. Dr. Kim achieved promotion and tenure in four years and returned to private practice. Her love for education and teaching later prompted her to return to academics, and she is now the Graduate Program Director at the University of Michigan.

Cindi Roth, WVUF president and CEO, was among the distinguished speakers. She took guests down an impressive philanthropic path over the department’s history. More than 1,100 unique gifts have been made to the orthodontics department since its first graduating class. They total more than $5.2 million and include 18 endowments that provide lasting support to the department. Dr. Ngan holds the department’s first-ever endowed faculty professorship.

“Dr. Ngan has always openly encouraged a culture of philanthropy, reminding residents in the program that equipment, travel and other education resource are available to them thanks to the generosity of the alumni,” Roth said. “He has inspired residents to give back when they can and give annually, if possible, by reiterating the value of every dollar in making a positive impact on the program.”

Ngan joined the dental school 26 years ago. More than 125 guests attended the anniversary banquet.

See pictures from the event in our online gallery. 

Those considering gifts for the Department of Orthodontics can donate online. For questions about giving, contact Karen Coombs, Director of Development by email at or call 304-216-3784.