Bulletin of Dental Education

University of Utah Dental School Unveils Building Name

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University of Utah officials have announced its new School of Dentistry building will be located in Research Park and named after Ray and Tye Noorda in recognition of a $30 million donation. The school was approved by the Utah State Board of Regents in July 2012 and will enroll its first four-year class of 20 students in the fall of 2013.  

"This is a historic step forward for dental education in Utah and we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Ray and Tye Noorda and their family for making this school possible," says G. Lynn Powell, D.D.S., founding Dean of the new school. "The quiet generosity of this remarkable couple and their family will have a lasting impact on the health of all Utahns."

According to the Noorda family, the donation exemplifies Ray and Tye Noorda's passion for contributing to the public good, as well as fostering innovation and research that drives economic development and job creation. "This gift is about helping improve the human condition. This new dental school will educate top Utah students and offer affordable tuition, it will provide underserved citizens from across the region with better access to dental care, and it will spark innovative dental research that will benefit patients around the world. We're pleased to be a partner with the University of Utah in this important endeavor," says the family. Ray Noorda founded the software company Novell in the 1980s and died in 2006. His wife Tye and four surviving children all participated in making the decision to donate to the dental school.

Establishing a dental school has long been a goal of University leaders, according to Vivian S. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Utah. She says the dental school will be an important partner with the university's other clinical, research, and training programs in nursing, pharmacy, health, and medicine.

"This new dental school helps move our health sciences programs to the next level. By leveraging existing partnerships and ongoing collaborations with other colleges and programs my expectation is that within 10 years this school will be among the top 10 dental schools in the country in terms of research funding and reputation," says Dr. Lee.

The new 70,000 square foot building will feature a dental clinic, classrooms, research laboratories, and administrative offices for faculty. The building will be named the Ray and Tye Noorda Oral Health Sciences Building and construction is expected to begin in early 2013.

Dr. Powell estimates the school will receive more than 500 applications in its first year from students hoping to enroll in the school's inaugural class. "We're hitting the ground running in terms of our reputation and applicant pool. We have tremendously talented and well-prepared Utah students and the chance to keep them in Utah for their training is really a dream come true for our program," he said.

Dr. Powell says one of his top priorities is recruiting new faculty and staff. Glen Hanson, D.D.S., Ph.D., is the school's new Associate Dean for Research. Many faculty members and community dentists who have been part of the existing Regional Dental Ed Program are expected to join the faculty in the coming months. The school has already received initial accreditation from the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

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