Dental News - Retired orthodontist gives US$4 million to dental school

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Retired orthodontist gives US$4 million to dental school

Dr Ledyard E. Ross, left, East Carolina University Chancellor Steve Ballard and Dr James Hupp, dean of the ECU School of Dentistry, at the announcement of Ross’ gift to the university. (Photo/Cliff Hollis, ECU News & Communication)
Fred Michmershuizen, DTA

Fred Michmershuizen, DTA

Tue. 6 April 2010


GREENVILLE/NEW YORK, USA: Dr Ledyard E. Ross, an 84-year-old retired orthodontist, has pledged US$4 million to East Carolina University (ECU) School of Dentistry. The gift, one of the largest in the history of the university, will be used for as student scholarships, faculty research and other academic enterprises.

Ross is a 1951 graduate of ECU (then called East Carolina College). He has been a supporter of several academic and athletic initiatives at the university since establishing his dental practice in Greenville. He attended Greenville High School and Hardbarger Business College before being admitted to East Carolina College. He graduated from Northwestern University Dental School with a DDS in 1953, and received a master of science degree in orthodontics in 1959 from UNC-Chapel Hill. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps First Marine Division from 1943 to 1946.

His financial gift comes at a welcome time for his alma mater. Just two years ago, state and university leaders broke ground for the new East Carolina University School of Dentistry. A new building that will house the new School of Dentistry will be named Ledyard E. Ross Hall.

“This generous gift comes at a time when we are starting a new school and puts us in a position to support faculty and students at its inception,” said ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard. “Dr Ross’ gift to the university reinforces that the N.C. General Assembly saw the wisdom of establishing a School of Dentistry at ECU and reinforces the vision they had and we have for this school.”

Ledyard E. Ross Hall, on the ECU Health Sciences campus, will have more than 100,000 square feet. The North Carolina General Assembly has provided about US$90 million for construction. That appropriation covers both the dental school building in Greenville and 10 community-service learning centers in rural and underserved areas of North Carolina.

“The difference between being a good dental school and a great dental school hinges on private giving,” said Dr James Hupp, dean of the School of Dentistry. “Dr Ross’ very generous philanthropic gift will propel us toward greatness, allowing us to accomplish our grand vision of improving the health and quality of life of North Carolinians by leading the nation in community-based, service-learning dental education. We cannot thank him enough.”

The ECU dental school plans to admit its first students for the fall semester of 2011. About 50 students will enter the program every year.

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