Rotter to Retire as Dean of Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine

Dentistry Today


Bruce Rotter, DMD, MS, dean of the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine (SIU SDM), will retire in December. He was named dean in November 2012 after serving as interim dean for more than a year.

An alum of the SIU SDM class of 1982, Rotter joined the SDM as a member of the faculty in 1993. He brought a unique perspective to the dean’s position, SDM said, fully participating in the school’s progress as a student, faculty member, and administrator.

“On behalf of SIUE and the SIU School of Dental Medicine, I want to thank dean Rotter for nearly 30 years of service,” said chancellor Randy Pembrook.

“In particular, I want to commend dean Rotter and the school for their dedication to the community as evidenced by their free clinics for veterans and the Give Kids a Smile program, which annual provide more than $100,000 of free dental service to valued constituencies, as well as their work at the WE CARE Clinic in East St. Louis,” Pembrook said.

“We wish Bruce and his wife, Cindy, best wishes as they plan for retirement in 2022,” Pembrook said.

Rotter was SDM associate dean for academic affairs for six years prior to serving as interim dean. He joined the SDM faculty as an assistant professor in 1993 and was named associate professor in 1997 and professor in 2009.

During that time, Rotter created and administered one of the first implant fellowship training programs in the country, SDM said. That program led to the creation of a freestanding implant clinic that he designed, helped develop, and directed.

Other career highlights include:

  • Led the school through reaccreditation from the Council on Dental Accreditation (CODA) three times
  • Appointed Cornell Thomas, DDS, as SDM chief diversity officer and director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to increase concentration on diversity, equity, inclusion, and well-being in January 2021
  • Was elected vice chair of CODA in November 2020
  • Launched the SDM clinical endodontic training graduate program in November 2020
  • SDM received a $2 million grant from the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation in April 2019 to build a medical operating suite with general anesthesia capabilities for children with special dental care needs within a new Advanced Care Patient Clinic
  • Showcased SDM’s renovated clinic in University Park on the Edwardsville campus in February 2017, expanding the scope of SDM’s available care, providing that care to a greater demographic, and ensuring an even higher level of training to SDM students
  • SDM’s new and expanded presence in Alton earned an Award of Achievement from Pride, Incorporated, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to community beautification, in March 2014, recognizing the construction of the school’s Multidisciplinary Simulation Laboratory and adjacent space, an 18,000-square-foot, $9.5 million project

Throughout his academic career, SDM said, Rotter continued to be active in the private practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery to maintain his knowledge and skills while bringing that experience to the academic setting.

Rotter worked with Southern Illinois Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Belleville and Glen Carbon from 2002 until his appointment as dean. He also has served the Veterans Administration Medical Center in St. Louis as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and/or a consultant since 1994.

A member of 15 dental professional associations, Rotter has been elected to fellowship by the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Rotter also has been associated with more than a dozen hospitals throughout his career including affiliations with St. Anthony’s Medical Center in Alton, Belleville Memorial Hospital, Healthsouth Surgical Center in Belleville, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center in St. Louis.

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