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Colgate to launch graduate school of dentistry

By Barbara Brooks on April 1, 2014

Colgate University announced on Tuesday, April 1, that it will open a graduate school of dentistry. The dental school will be a natural outgrowth of the university’s strength in the sciences, as well as the consolidated focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. These ideas all are emphasized in the university’s 2014–2019 strategic plan.

“We conducted an incisive review of our curriculum,” said President Jeffrey Herbst, “and we agreed that while we have an extremely strong pre-professional program in the health sciences, there is a gap in our current curriculum. Because Colgate has so many successful alumni in the field of medicine, we should have no problem establishing name recognition.”

According to Herbst, campus initiatives such as Colgate’s Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute also have inspired campus administrators to look not just at how things are, but how they might be.

Together with Douglas Hicks, provost and dean of the faculty, and Gary Ross ’77, dean of admission, Herbst determined that a school of dentistry could provide a new revenue stream for the university while also reinforcing Colgate’s core mission to educate students in the liberal arts.

Ross  predicted a great future for the dental school. He said: “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 81.4 percent of children aged two to seventeen visited the dentist in 2011. That means Colgate can help fill a very real need for well-educated dentists.”

Hicks also bonded with the idea immediately. “We believe that our school of dentistry is a perfect fit,” he said. “When you’re in the dentist’s chair, do you want a doctor who makes small talk about the weather, or do you want a Colgate-trained dentist who can wax eloquent on current events and ancient philosophy?”


  • John Wilkins '66 said:

    For days my mind kept saying graduate chemistry rather than dentistry. But then there is the most credible Gary Ross teething out the words dentistry. Aha, this team should be recruited by mission impossible.

  • Jennifer Gudelis said:

    I think they should at the very least offer an MFP in Flouride. Sorry, but until now that was the only funny Colgate joke I ever heard. To those of you who were somehow upset about the “silly” joke or the University’s “credibility”, lighten up. Media attention is free publicity, and this is not negative publicity, it is harmless.

  • Bill Cerillo said:

    Thanks Tim for clarifying things! My faith in Colgate has once again been restored….

  • Bill Cerillo said:

    In light of all the speculation on the posts as to whether this is a hoax (as I hope is likely) or is really true, has anyone contacted the college to find out whether, in fact,

    this is true??? If so, I think we would all like to hear….

  • Richard Frost said:

    Plaudits to Brooks, Hicks, Herbst and Ross for the puns and mockery of administrative bloviation. I particularly enjoyed the promotion of Colgate in the observatory’s maroon sky. A Swarthmore classmate (1951) asks whether toothpaste and college don’t share the same DNA. I didn’t think so, but why not? All used toothpaste has DNA, and so do old colleges.

  • Mary said:

    ROOT TOOT(h) TOOT(h)!!!!!!

  • Tim Carroll '77 said:

    Will there be a formal brush period for sophomores now?

  • Teresa Skalyo DDS said:

    I was initially frozen with fear…. did they really think this was a good idea? The population of Hamilton and the surrounding areas cannot support the patient base needed for a dental school. Would cows and rabbits substitute when human patients were not available? There are a ton of other reasons why the “revenue stream” wouldn’t be there…. This has to be a joke…. but part of me worries that someone thinks it may be a good idea.

  • Karen DeSimone said:

    Laugh all you want Colgate- the truth is that there will be a shortage of dentists in the next 10 years due to the number of dental schools that have closed in the last 25 years. With the need to train more dentists for our communities and the fact that current dental schools have long waiting lists for matriculation, you would have been laughing all the way to the bank!

  • David Badami '88 said:

    I bit.

  • Gene C said:

    Maybe they can combine P&R and dentistry into a single major. A prerequisite to extraction would be to have an I-Thou relationship with the tooth.

  • David A. Berthold said:

    You got me, too. I was all set to email my classmate Dr. Michael A. Carey graduate of the Fairly Ridiculous School of Dentistry in Jersey.

  • Jamie said:

    …if only!

    Strong work!

  • Bill cerillo said:

    I hope this is a joke, though why would a college engage in such a silly joke??? I fear this silly idea may not be a joke….

  • Richard Bort '63 said:

    The launch of a school of dentistry is a hare-brained idea that is predicated on two bogus notions: that a school of dentistry could provide a new revenue stream for the university, and that it would reinforce Colgate’s core mission to educate students in the liberal arts. Tell me this is an April Fool’s joke.

    And if it is, shame on the Herbst administration for damaging its credibility.

  • John Pumilio said:

    In an effort to integrate sustainability into our new Graduate School of Dentistry, it is my understanding that students will learn the long-forgotten craft of inserting wooden dentures. However, Colgate will be the only dentistry school in the country (to the best of my knowledge) to source the wood from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified lumber from the Colgate forest. Just another way Colgate continues to go green!

  • Tim Klika '98 said:

    Classic! Well done Colgate, well done.

  • Don Ullrich said:

    I was Class of ’51, long before Colgate went co-ed. Back in those days there was talk of doing so and establishing a Palmolive School of Homemaking to accommodate the gals. I guess that wouldn’t work today since so few of them pursue that highly-rewarding career.

  • Frank Loehmann '67 said:

    Read the first few lines on my phone and immediately thought “Dentistry? How about an MBA program?” Started to spread the word to some Colgate dentist friends before realizing from the full article is was a joke. Well done. Got me good!

  • Ed Flanagan said:

    Best item I have seen or will likely see this April 1. Who knew Colgate could make and take a joke with such élan !

  • nigel bolland said:

    Will we have the Sarah Palin Chair of Dentistry: “Drill, baby, drill”?

  • Heidi Philley said:

    Since the Griffiths Air Force Base Dental Clinic, became A School of Dental Hygiene and Colgate is half way between Buffalo and NY City (location of the Dental Schools in NY), I think it a great idea. I realize it as an April Fool’s joke, but the need for dental treatment in underserved areas (especially Central NY) to high risk populations, make me dream that it might be a possibility. The founder would be proud!!

  • Maggie O'C said:

    Oh man, you totally got me. Hahahaha Well done!

  • Bill Powers said:

    Finally a new concept that we can all sink our teeth in ! The wisdom of this approach is hard to brush off lightly.

  • Barbara Needell '79 said:

    Being a dentist I can offer all my support for the new program. I have always Gleemed that Colgate students were Ultra Brite. In my 28 years of practice I have heard all of the Colgate dental comments. So this is a natural transition for Colgate to make. I offer my help in instruction in any of the Composite areas of study. Although I am well Rooted in Florida I can act as adjunct faculty. The theme can be “Drill, fill and bill,” since it has been used by us dentists for years. So, with Pulp Fiction as our favorite movie and Crown Royal as our favorite drink, we can help Colgate Bridge the Gap between a university and the the medical/dental mecca of the world!

  • Dean G said:

    No need to reach for the laughing gas on this one!

  • Christina Fakharzadeh '98 said:

    That’s a whole lotta work for an April Fool’s joke. Love that the administration at Colgate has such a great sense of humor.

  • Jim Barnshaw, '63 said:

    Colgate dental jokes will now fall flat. And those pre-med students who don’t make it can have, hopefully, an easier path to a profession. What a lark.

  • Tom said:

    At first I thought this was an April Fools’ Day joke, but then I noticed that it was published on March 31st.

  • Tom B said:

    I note that several quotes were missing from the final draft of the article:
    “Finally, a challenging program at Colgate for our Ultra Brite students. This Signals the beginning, we Promise, of several new programs in the upcoming years,” notes Provost and Dean of the [Darlieng] Faculty Doug Hicks – with that well-recognized Gleem in his eyes. “Aim for the Crest, ‘gate,” will be our new, (Aqua)Fresh motto. “But now it’s time to get our Arms and Hammers to work – groundbreaking occurs today at 04:01 pm (that’s Zulu time) — meet at the Oak Drive bridge to celebrate this crowning achievement.” [Is it true that the application fee will be waved for all Tom’s of Maine.]

  • don fredericksen said:


  • Roger Rowlett said:

    Now all those toothpaste jokes at the hockey games won’t be so funny anymore!! We’ll be able to brush those off with aplomb–or with Colgate Tartar-Free.

    Well done!

  • Mary said:

    I am assuming this is an April Fool’s joke? Much like the “Coca Cola University” announcement in 2002 that Colgate was officially changing its name due to a large donation.

  • Brent K. '00 said:

    Tongue firmly planted in cheek!

  • Debra Townsend said:

    This made me smile

  • Ken Belanger said:

    Finally … we don’t have to explain why we’re a “University”!!! I was really getting tired of that drill. Filling in those gaps for prospective students and candidates who might brush us away.

    I’m alright with this … as long as we don’t lose our floss-ophy department!

  • Ken said:

    April Fool’s???

  • Donald Lindeman '74 said:

    Okay, Sounds ambitious to me. May I say, this will be a complex task. I say this as a client of the formidable NYU College of Dentistry in Manhattan, and so, know what sort of commitment this entails. Best wishes, already, and, do not ignore the obvious growing pains that may well ensue.