The University of Tennessee (UT) Board of Trustees has approved a request from the UT Health Science Center (UTHSC) to name the new dental building under construction on the Memphis campus the Delta Dental of Tennessee Building.
During its virtual fall meeting, the board also approved naming the College of Dentistry’s entire grounds the Delta Dental of Tennessee Oral Health Complex, which includes the existing Dunn Dental Building, which continues in use, and the new building, as well as clinics and support structures.
The designations honor the outstanding support of Delta Dental of Tennessee and its president and chief executive officer Philip Wenk, DDS, who is a 1973 graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a 1977 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry. Also, Wenk is the chair of the University of Tennessee Foundation Board of Trustees and the UTHSC Advisory Board.
Wenk received an Outstanding Alumnus Award from the UTHSC College of Dentistry Alumni Association in 2016 and was selected from more than 370,000 alumni as one of the university of Tennessee’s Top 100 Distinguished Alumni by Tennessee Alumnus, the University of Tennessee System’s alumni magazine.
“As CEO, Phil is a strong advocate for the College of Dentistry,” said UTHSC chancellor Steve Schwab, MD, in a letter to UT president Randy Boyd in making the naming recommendation.
Delta Dental of Tennessee is the largest donor to the UTHSC College of Dentistry. Since 1997, it has provided financial support to the college totaling more than $16.5 million, including $6.3 million for construction costs toward the more than $45 million new building and $1.4 million in equipment.
The new building will wrap the Dunn Dental Building on the north and west. It will house a special needs clinic, a faculty practice, and dental technique laboratories for first-year and second-year students.
Projects and initiatives at UTHSC that have benefitted from the support of Delta Dental include the Delta Dental of Tennessee Endowed Scholarship, equipment in dental labs, the annual College of Dentistry Scholarship Dinner, and the annual Slagle Dental Meeting. According to Delta Dental, it also has provided strategic advice, speakers to address alumni and students, and fundraising leadership to complete the Dunn Dental Building.
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