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Release: Sept. 18, 2000

UI College of Dentistry honors faculty with first endowed professorships, chair

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Dentistry will honor three faculty members with newly created endowed professorships and an endowed chair, the first such awards in the college’s 100-year history.

John S. Casko, D.D.S., has been appointed to the B.F. and Helen E. Dewel Chair in Clinical Orthodontics. Michael W. Finkelstein, D.D.S., has been named Centennial Professor of Teaching, and Clark M. Stanford, D.D.S., has been named Centennial Associate Professor of Clinical Research. They will be honored in an investiture and celebration reception Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Levitt Center for University Advancement.

The endowed positions recognize excellence in three critical areas: education, research and patient care. Established with private donations, they provide financial support that helps faculty members pursue interests in these areas. They also benefit the College of Dentistry in an increasingly competitive national environment for faculty recruiting.

"Faculty support is one of our top priorities, along with providing resources for students and maintaining facilities that keep us among the nation’s top dental schools," said David Johnsen, D.D.S., dean of the college. "I am honored to name three of our most outstanding faculty to these first endowed positions."

Casko joined the UI dental faculty in 1976 as professor and head of orthodontics. He received his dental and master’s degrees from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh, where he also completed a postdoctoral fellowship. He teaches students in both the classroom and the dental clinics, and also serves as a mentor for graduate students. He has developed a problem-oriented approach to orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning and researches the stability of dental and skeletal changes in patients who undergo combined surgical orthodontic treatment.

The endowed chair that Casko will hold was established by a bequest from the late B.F. "Tod" Dewel, D.D.S., a 1925 UI dental graduate who died last year. His estate included approximately $2.3 million to create the chair named for him and his wife. It is one of the largest gifts received by the UI to support a single endowed chair or professorship.

Finkelstein received dental and master’s degrees at the UI, then joined the College of Dentistry faculty in 1982 in the department of oral pathology, radiology and medicine. He also holds a faculty appointment in anatomy and cell biology with the UI College of Medicine. He has received 20 instructor-of-the-year awards, seven distinguished instructor awards and two collegiate teaching awards. Finkelstein has been active in the college’s mission to revise its curriculum, helping to institute problem-based learning methods that focus on critical thinking and research skills. He teaches and mentors both dental and graduate students.

Stanford, also a UI dental and doctoral graduate, joined the faculty in 1992. He holds faculty appointments in the College of Dentistry’s Dows Institute for Dental Research and department of prosthodontics, as well as an appointment in orthopaedic surgery with the UI College of Medicine. He is one of few prosthodontists in the United States who does biological research, focusing on bone biology, systemic diseases like osteoporosis and dental implants. He directs the College of Dentistry Office of Clinical Research, teaches four graduate level courses and mentors predoctoral and graduate students.

The endowed professorships held by Finkelstein and Stanford were created with support from the Dental Centennial Fund. The UI Dental Alumni Association and the college’s administration recommended the two faculty members to the new positions. Endowed professorships provide faculty members with up to $25,000 each year, and require building a fund of at least $500,000 to generate sufficient annual income.

Private gifts that established the endowed professorships and endowed chair were made through the University of Iowa Foundation, the preferred channel of giving to the UI and its programs.