“The dental faculty were instrumental in teaching the latest technologies and techniques and demanding excellence every step of the way.”
This sentiment from Gordon Bell, DDS ’89, explains his desire to invest in faculty excellence at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) through the recently announced Gordon M. Bell, DDS, and Holly G. Bell, CRNP, Endowed Professorship, the fifth endowed professorship at UMSOD.
Citing the critical role faculty mentors played in his clinical education, Bell has ensured the same experience for future generations of oral health professionals.
“Endowed professorships are critical for recruiting and retaining preeminent faculty and for fostering excellence in education, research, clinical care, and service,” said UMSOD Dean Mark A. Reynolds, DDS ’86, PhD, MA. “We are grateful to Gordon and Holly for this very generous and impactful investment in the future for UMSOD.”
Endowed professorships play a unique role in academic institutions, sustaining scholarship, benefiting patient care, and supporting discovery in a chosen area of expertise. They also bestow recognition and distinction upon an outstanding faculty member, creating and nurturing space to cultivate a legacy that will flourish through academic excellence, innovative scientific discoveries, and advances in clinical care.
Gordon and Holly Bell’s commitment to contributing to a culture of excellence at UMSOD began with their first outing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, visiting the school and meeting Reynolds.
Having previously included UMSOD in their estate plans, the Bells said their visit and tour of the school sparked an interest in shaping their gift into a permanent endowment that would advance faculty excellence. The endowment will be created out of their estate assets, a strategy that many find achievable to create a large enough endowment to permanently fund a faculty position.
Creating a Lasting Legacy
The endowment creates a lasting dental legacy for Bell, who followed a winding route to UMSOD and his lifelong passion. “I did not take the traditional path to dentistry, but once enrolled, I knew I had found my true vocation,” said Bell, who grew up in Washington, D.C., and met Holly on a blind date while he was working as a mechanic.
With her support and encouragement, Bell enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park and earned a degree in microbiology in 1985. He credits a volunteer position at a nursing home with sparking his interest in dentistry. He saw an enormous need for affordable and skilled dental care for the elderly and applied to nine dental schools before choosing UMSOD.
Bell was inducted into Omicron Kappa Upsilon, a national dental honor society, and served as president of his UMSOD class for three years before earning his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1989. He is a passionate supporter of organized dentistry and has practiced as a general dentist for 32 years with multiple offices in York, Pa.
For more information about ways to support UMSOD faculty or how to include the school in your estate plans, please contact Janet Wiley, assistant dean for development and alumni relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-706-4298.