Dental school alumni back faculty through generous gift

A $50,000 donation to the West Virginia University School of Dentistry will help foster efforts to recruit additional faculty and provide resources for faculty development.

As the Board of Governors for the WVU School of Dentistry Alumni Association gathered Friday, February 9, board president Dr. Ron Richardson presented a check to Dr. Tom Borgia, Dean of the School of Dentistry.

“This is an opportunity for us to join in the growth of the West Virginia University dental school. I’m blessed to have gone to dental school here.  I got a fantastic education. I know that. Now is the time to give back,” said Richardson, a 1981 alumnus. “These students are fantastic here.  You meet these students and they are energetic.  They have passion. I know they’re going to be fantastic dentists.  When I see that, it’s easy to come back and donate, help these kids grow and help these kids get jobs.”

The WVU School of Dentistry Alumni Association presented a keepsake $50,000 check with a donation to the faculty fund.

FRONT ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: Dr. Michael Hazey, Dr. Tom Borgia (Dean of the School of Dentistry), Dr. Ron Richardson (School of Dentistry Alumni Association Board of Governors President, Karen Coombs (School of Dentistry Director of Development) BACK ROW LEFT TO RIGHT:
Dr. James Szarko, Dr. Loring Ross, Dr. Michael George, Suann Gaydos, Wendi Gray, Dr. Ed Skidmore, Dr. David Bridgeman, Dr. Keith Hildebrand

The WVU School of Dentistry Faculty Fund exists to primarily support recruitment of the best dentists to lead the school’s nearly 300 dental and dental hygiene students to successful careers in oral health care.

 “Recruiting faculty in professional education is always a major challenge, and the national shortage of qualified faculty in dental education is already well known,” Borgia explained.  “Because earnings potentials are significantly higher in the private sector, financial support such as our Alumni Association has now provided us will go a long way to both attracting new faculty and helping us retain, improve and enrich those we already have.”

Borgia said the school has current faculty needs in several departments, most notably in research and in pediatric dentistry.

In November, during WVU’s first Day of Giving encouraging philanthropic pledges, Richardson and additional leadership within the School of Dentistry’s Alumni Association generously committed financial support to bring in the most qualified candidates in endodontics, periodontics, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and oral and maxillofacial surgery.

According to Karen Coombs, School of Dentistry Director of Development, the recent $50,000 gift could be just the beginning.

“The Alumni Association generously committed to match the first $100,000 raised for the Faculty Fund.  We received over half of that on Day of Giving. And we have until June 30, 2018 to raise the additional $50,000. In essence, this challenge doubles the donations of our generous contributors,” detailed Coombs. “By June 30th we should have more than $200,000 to support the dean’s recruitment efforts.  It is this kind of unwavering commitment and belief in the dean’s leadership that makes this goal achievable. It is the collaboration of administration, alumni and donors that allows the school to provide excellence in educating the next generation of oral health care providers needed in this state.”

In West Virginia, approximately 80% of the practicing dentists are graduates of WVU School of Dentistry, the state’s only dental school.

In addition to lecturing, lab and clinical instruction, WVU School of Dentistry faculty members participate in the faculty practice treating patients regularly.

Those interested in learning more about the School of Dentistry faculty fund should contact