1868

ISAAC WETHERBEE, a former Baptist minister from Vermont, opens BOSTON DENTAL COLLEGE, one of the country’s first dental schools. Classes meet around Boston, including above a saloon, before moving to Tremont Street in 1877.

 

1869

The FIRST COMMENCEMENT takes place on June 14 at Mercantile Hall in Boston.

 

Names

Source: The Dental Cosmos, Volume 14

1872

Eight graduates form the BOSTON DENTAL COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION.

 

1899

HAROLD WILLIAMS oversees a merger with Tufts to create the TUFTS COLLEGE DENTAL SCHOOL. He’ll serve as dean of the dental and medical schools.

 

416 Huntington Avenue

Photo: Tufts Archives

1901

Tufts dental and medical schools take up residence at 416 HUNTINGTON AVENUE in Boston.

 

1912

The school has the highest percentage of successful exams of any dental school in the country.

 

1913

CHARLES F. PAINTER, a physician, becomes dean of the dental and medical schools.

 

1917

WILLLIAM RICE, D1888, becomes dean.

 

1931

Despite the onset of the Great Depression, more than 400 alumni contribute or pledge to the DENTAL ALUMNI FUND to modernize the infirmary.

 

1933

HOWARD MARJERISON, D16, H42, becomes dean.

 

Basil Bibby

Basil Bibby. Photo: Bibby Library

1940

BASIL BIBBY, DI39, a pioneer in research on bacteria, fluoride and caries, becomes dean. He’ll go on to lead the Eastman Dental Center in New York.

 

1947

JOSEPH YOLKER takes over as dean. He’ll soon leave for the University of Alabama, bringing a half-dozen Tufts faculty with him.

 

1949

Tufts establishes the BERKSHIRE CONFERENCE, an annual research meeting in periodontology. Meanwhile, Dean CYRIL MARSHALL-DAY settles the school into a former button factory at 136 Harrison Avenue in Boston, where it shares space with the med school.

 

1955

Tufts Dental College becomes TUFTS SCHOOL OF DENTAL MEDICINE.

 

1959

JOHN HEIN, D44, H93, takes the reins as dean.

 

1960

The school establishes the pioneering department of SOCIAL DENTISTRY. Initially focused on training dental assistants, it paved the way for today’s public health and community service curriculum.

 

1962

J. MURRAY GAVEL, D23, H64, becomes dean. Later, the Gavel Center for Restorative Dental Research is named for him.

 

Louis J.P. Calisti

Louis J.P. Calisti, right

1963

LOUIS J.P. CALISTI, who will serve as dean for close to a decade, sets in motion a plan to build the first home base dedicated to the dental school.

 

1971

THOMAS MURNANE, D62, AG68, is acting dean before heading into Tufts fund-raising. He’s succeeded by ROBERT SHIRA, H81, former chief of the Army Dental Corps and U.S. deputy surgeon general.

 

1973

At the official dedication for ONE KNEELAND, completed at a total cost of $15 million, Massachusetts Governor Francis Sargent is the featured speaker.

 

1975

Tufts becomes the country's first dental school to launch a program of community-based EXTERNSHIPS at sites such as veterans’ hospitals, health clinics, Native American Reservations, correctional facilities and military bases.

 

1979

ERLING JOHANSEN, D49, one of many Norwegian students who arrived at the dental school after World War II, becomes dean.

 

1990

After Farleigh Dickinson University unexpectedly closes its dental school, Tufts welcomes 25 students for the classes of 1991 and ’92, part of a tradition of WELCOMING TRANSFERS from shuttered programs.

 

1992

JOHN A. DIBIAGGIO becomes Tufts University’s first (and so far, only) dentist president, serving through 2001.

 

Lonnie Norris

Lonnie Norris. Photo: Matthew Modoono

1995

LONNIE NORRIS, DG80, who began his Tufts career in 1977, is the first African American to become dean. He’ll oversee the addition of 95,000 SQUARE FEET to One Kneeland Street.

 

1998

The start of practice-based CLINIC GROUPS for third- and fourth-year students, under the leadership of a faculty coordinator.

 

2009

Tufts becomes the first dental school to launch a university-level SLEEP MEDICINE PROGRAM.

 

Huw Thomas

Huw Thomas. Photo: Matthew Modoono

2011

Pediatric dentist HUW THOMAS, a native of Wales, comes to Tufts after serving as dean of the dental school at the University of Alabama.

Portrait of Laura Ferguson

Laura Ferguson, senior writer at Tufts and regular Tufts Now contributor, can be reached at laura.ferguson@tufts.edu.

Helene Ragovin

Helene Ragovin, senior writer at Tufts and editor of Tufts Dental Medicine, can be reached at helene.ragovin@tufts.edu.