By Jay Chilton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Oklahoma City - University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren was all smiles Friday as he announced the largest single gift ever to the OU College of Dentistry. Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation’s lead gift of $3.2 million increased the funding level of the largest private fundraising project in the college’s history to $9.6 million raised to date.
The Legacy Project is a $20 million capital campaign to create a state-of-the-art facility at the OU College of Dentistry. The gift from Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation will be disbursed over a 10-year period and be used in the renovation of the dentistry building.
“The entire University is deeply grateful for the exceptional gifts by Delta Dental of Oklahoma to the College of Dentistry,” President Boren said. “It is truly a transformative gift which will help keep our college among the very best in the nation.”
The College of Dentistry building has remained largely unchanged since 1976. In an effort to ensure the college remains competitive with other national dental schools, the renovations will incorporate a training program where students will closely reflect the practice of dental care outside of a class-room setting. The change will be evident to the public in the implementation of the Comprehensive Care Clinics Floor wherein patients will receive improved care and students will work and learn in a real-world professional environment.
Boren will recommend that the OU Board of Regents name the dentistry building’s Comprehensive Care Clinics Floor for Delta Dental of Oklahoma Oral Health Foundation. The floor will be a cornerstone of the renovation project, comprising three clinics and housing a total of nine comprehensive group practices.
In each practice, students will spend an entire semester coordinating every aspect of a patient’s oral health care as they would in a practice setting. The college expects patients will enjoy quicker and more efficient care at the clinic as a result of being assigned to a group practice to be cared for by the same group of student practitioners on each return visit.
John Gladden, president and CEO of Delta Dental, accepted a plaque of an artist’s rendering of how the atrium may look when work is completed.
“Our business and our oral Health Foundation depend on having a supply of the best trained dentists throughout the state,” Gladden said. “Having a dental school in our state means we have more dentists across the state, which positively impacts the oral health of our population. Our gift - which is the largest in our history - is both an endorsement of the quality of education provided by the OU College of Dentistry, as well as support of new technologies and the teamwork approach for better oral care in the future.”
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