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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?”

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