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Release: Immediate

NOTE: If you are interested in photos of the construction, please contact Duane Anderson, facilities manager at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.

Construction begins on dental facilities as fund raising passes half-way mark

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Renovation of instructional facilities at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry is moving ahead while a fund-raising campaign, conducted by the college and the University of Iowa Foundation, is more than half way to its $2 million goal, thanks to a $75, 000 pledge from Oral-B Laboratories of Iowa City, several leadership gifts, and a high percentage of pledges from faculty and staff.

The gift from Oral-B will name a classroom for one of Iowa City's largest employers and the world's largest manufacturer of toothbrushes. Oral-B has its headquarters in Redwood City, Calif. The Oral-B classroom will be constructed later this summer during phase two of the project.

"Oral B is an international company with strong ties to the Iowa City community, so their commitment to the UI College of Dentistry is especially gratifying," said Dr. David Johnsen, dean of the UI College of Dentistry. "The corporation's contribution during the early stages of construction is key to the success of the entire renovation."

This month, construction crews are removing cabinets, moving walls, and putting in the new electrical and plumbing systems needed for the new simulation clinic. When phase one of the project is completed this summer, first- and second-year dental students will learn in a simulated clinic setting, practicing procedures on mannequins positioned like patients. Instructors will demonstrate techniques using slides, video, and other computer-based resources that are viewed at each student's work station. The simulation clinic and other improvements will provide a better environment to prepare students for treating patients and managing patient issues.

In addition to the gift from Oral-B Laboratories, the UI Foundation has received a number of leadership gifts from campaign steering committee members and others, according to Dave Triplett, director of development for the College of Dentistry.

Leadership gifts and pledges of $40,000 or more have been received from Dr. Ross D. Christensen of Waterloo; Virginia L. Hoffer of Green Valley, Ariz.; in memory of her husband, Dr. James S. Hoffer; Dr. William Olin and Bertha S. Olin of Iowa City; former dean of the College of Dentistry Dr. James McLeran and Hermine McLeran of Coralville; and Dr. Charles G. and Shirley H. Sleichter of Punta Gorda, Fla. Several alumni and friends have made gifts of $20,000 or more including Kari B. Bullamore of Frostburg, Md., in honor of her father, UI Professor Emeritus Dr. Arne M. Bjorndal of Iowa City; Dr. Eva C. Dahl and Barry A. Bloomquist of Onalaska, Wis.; the dental practice of Kegler, Kegler, and Arend of Independence, Iowa; and Dr. James Allen O'Brien of Dubuque, Iowa. Drs. Christensen and Dahl are co-chairs of the campaign steering committee.

Even patients have made generous gifts during the early stages of the fund-raising effort. William Logan of Keokuk, Iowa heard about the renovation during his check-up at the dental school. The former Hawkeye basketball all-American contributed $20,000""$1,000 for each year of excellent dental care I have received," Logan said.

College of Dentistry faculty and staff have been very enthusiastic, according to Triplett. "So far, more than 70 percent of the dental faculty have contributed, and about 20 faculty members have made pledges at the $5,000 level and above," said Triplett. "This fall, we will contact all dental alumni and give them an opportunity to participate in this campaign. The all-alumni solicitation should push us past our $2 million goal."

The entire renovation is estimated to cost approximately $4 million and is being funded by private contributions, support from the University, and a tuition surcharge to dental students.

The University of Iowa Foundation, the preferred channel of support to all areas of the university, works closely with alumni to encourage support for facilities projects, student scholarships, faculty development, and research funds in departments and programs across campus.