Case Western Reserve University alumnus R. William Cornell, Jr., DDS has made a $1.5 million commitment to endow the first named professorship at the Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine. The Dr. and Mrs. R. William Cornell, Jr. Endowed Professor of Pediatric Dentistry will be the first endowed chair in the history of the school, which was established in 1892.
“This endowed chair is an important milestone for the dental school,” said Jerold S. Goldberg, DDS, dean of the School of Dental Medicine. “Not only will it ensure excellence forever in the area of pediatric dentistry, but we also hope that Dr. Cornell’s generosity becomes a model for others.”
Cornell’s contributions to the school and the dental profession were recognized with the 2010 Distinguished Alumnus Award during the dental school’s annual gala award dinner on Saturday, May 15, at the State Theater in downtown Cleveland. The gala is part of the annual reunion celebration and welcome of dental students into the profession during graduation weekend.
“I wanted to support the school that gave me the knowledge and skills to build a career in a field I love,” said Cornell. “Faculty support was a clear choice for me, as there has always been a very positive relationship between the faculty and the students at the dental school.”
In his early career, Cornell had numerous roles at the dental school: first as a volunteer instructor and later as a salaried clinical instructor, assistant clinical professor and acting co-chair of the pediatric dentistry department. He also directed the undergraduate dental program until 1976, when he left Case Western Reserve to join the faculty at Northwestern University.
In addition to his work with the dental school and running a practice in Fairview Park, Ohio, Cornell served the greater community through the Cleveland school’s dental clinic and the Salvation Army’s free clinic.
Even though he is now retired, Cornell volunteers with the Collier County Health Department Dental Clinic near his retirement home in Naples, Fla., and provides seminars for pediatric dental residents at University of Florida College of Dentistry and Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He also volunteers several times a month for Habitat for Humanity through his church.
“Dr. Cornell is an outstanding educator and practitioner who has been a role model to thousands of dentists,” said Goldberg.