A Message from the Dean
Welcome to the 2020 issue of Salute. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the School of Dentistry, this year’s magazine is dedicated to the founding dean, faculty and staff who helped open the doors in the fall of 1970. The founding employees and first students helped make the school what it has become today—one of the world’s top dental schools.
We have seen incredible success and innovation over the last 50 years. I hope you enjoy the special stories highlighting the many accomplishments in academics, patient care, research and community service. The school has evolved and adapted to changes in dental health care, has expanded and made significant advances in research, and continues to be a leader in dental education.
Starting with the first graduating class of 14 students in 1974, the dental school has been fortunate to boast an incredibly successful and supportive alumni family. I appreciate the great relationship the alumni have with the school. The newly formed School of Dentistry Alumni Council is going to allow this relationship to continue to flourish. Alumni support—either with their time or financial resources—is crucial to our school’s ability to advance all of our missions. With our graduates’ support, the future looks bright.
While much of 2020 has been very challenging, the dental school started its academic year in October 2019 with a great success: 100 percent full accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. All our programs are fully accredited.
Like the rest of the world, the School of Dentistry had to face the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic beginning around spring break in March. The school did a fantastic job providing emergency care to all its patients without any disruption. In addition, all our academic programs continued through the spring semester. The school adapted to our changing world and provided a safe environment for our faculty, staff, students and patients.
I am truly proud of how our school and UT Health San Antonio responded to the pandemic. Everyone accepted the challenge, without reserve or complaint, and showed an incredible level of dedication and innovation.
One special group that had to step up to a new reality was the graduating Class of 2020. They all successfully graduated and are now advancing in their careers. I wish our dental hygiene, dental and advanced education dental students could have enjoyed a traditional final semester and graduation ceremonies, but we know they have now entered the profession of dentistry and are already making us all proud!
To end on another high note, I would like to share that we moved up to No. 7 in research rankings in the country. In rankings released by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, we are the highest ranked of all health professions schools in Texas in their respective disciplines. That is proof of 50 years of excellence in research.
Since my arrival here in February 2019, I have been very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to lead such a fantastic school. I appreciate and am grateful to the faculty, staff and students who make possible all the successes and the friendly environment found here. We all are excited to see what the next 50 years will bring.
Peter Michael Loomer, B.Sc., D.D.S., Ph.D., MRCD(C), FACD
Professor and Dean
School of Dentistry