Delta Dental donates $2 million for Marquette Dentistry expansion

Delta Dental of Wisconsin has donated $2 million to the Marquette University School of Dentistry’s Building for the Future campaign for a planned expansion to the school.

A portion of the gift, $500,000, is a challenge grant to help leverage additional support.

Delta Dental’s gift is the first of an $8 million capital campaign, which will match $8 million already committed from the State of Wisconsin in its 2011-2013 biennial budget. The university is currently in the design phase of this project and is actively committed to raising the remaining non-state matching funds.

The $16-million, 40,000-square-foot expansion will create additional clinical, lab and classroom space at the School of Dentistry’s Wisconsin Avenue facility in Milwaukee.

When the expansion is complete, the school will add enough clinical, lab and classroom space to accommodate classes of 100 students each year, up 20 from the current class size, for an annual enrollment of 400 students. Increased class sizes will enable Marquette to address proactively the future dental workforce needs of Wisconsin. More than 80 percent of Marquette’s dental graduates practice in the state, with alumni practicing in 69 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

As one of the first dental schools in the country to formally integrate research training into its pre-doctoral curriculum, the School of Dentistry’s expansion will include space for faculty and student translational and clinical research. Marquette dental faculty focus on research including health disparities among underserved populations in Wisconsin and around the world, orthodontics, clinical outcomes for patients, and radiology technology.

Central to the School of Dentistry’s curriculum is a patient-centered approach that prepares students to work directly with patients early in their educational experience.

“This expansion keeps Wisconsin’s only dental school on the leading edge of dental education,” said Dr. William Lobb, dean of the School of Dentistry. “The Marquette University School of Dentistry is educating highly skilled and technologically savvy dental professionals who are capable of providing contemporary care long into the future.”

“Our mission from day one has been to improve access to quality oral healthcare for all Wisconsin residents,” said Dennis Peterson, Delta Dental’s executive vice president. “Delta Dental’s support of the Marquette School of Dentistry’s efforts to ensure an adequate supply of dentists in Wisconsin now and in the future is crucial to the fulfillment of our mission.”

Delta Dental of Wisconsin is a nonprofit dental service corporation offering benefit services, claims processing, and plan administration to employers throughout Wisconsin since 1962. The company is headquartered in Stevens Point, with sales offices in Milwaukee and Madison.

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