Dear Colleagues in Dentistry,
We’ve been working on a very special feature of our new building, the first-floor historical exhibit officially known as “The Alumni Foundation School of Dentistry – Houston Historical Gallery.” When complete, this room and a showcase across from UT Dentists will highlight our school’s 108-year history in a compelling way.
The research for this project has turned up all kinds of surprises. One of them was the autobiography of Jack R. Winston, DDS, a 1932 alumnus who established the Jack R. Winston Visiting Professorship in Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry back in 1981. His gift still brings nationally recognized, distinguished practitioners to our school for a lecture series that has become a key part of our annual Generations Conference.
Dr. Winston was a student at Texas Dental College, as our school was then known, from 1928-32. He came to Houston from East Texas in 1927 with $7.50 in his pocket, desperate to earn money for school. He worked a variety of jobs -- hammering floorboards at a cotton compress, milking 40 cows by hand twice a day, uncrating merchandise for Foley Bros. Dry Goods Store – before eventually working as a dental technician at night and on Saturdays. The job he kept longest? Running a sandwich board from 12-1 p.m. daily for Keystone Sandwich Shop at the corner of LaBranch and Texas Avenue. He was paid three meals a day.
The Depression hit Texas Dental College hard. Winston’s class began with 40 students; only 18 remained for graduation. As a senior in 1932, Winston learned he owed the school $85 that had to be paid before he could graduate. Having borrowed all he could, he accepted offers from three of his clinical patients to lend him the money, and he repaid them with dental work. Two of them remained his patients throughout his nearly 50-year career.
Dr. Winston’s memories help bring the past to life, just as the visiting professorship that bears his name brings us together. This year, the speaker will be John C. Kois, DMD, MSD, on the topic, “Hit Man vs. Healer: Implementing a Risk Assessment Strategy.” I hope you’ll join us Friday, Sept. 6 for this special feature of the Generations Dental Conference and UTSD Alumni Round-Up.
We’ll be celebrating UT School of Dentistry’s history, as well as making it.
John A. Valenza, D.D.S.
William N. Finnegan III Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Dental Sciences
The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston