Georgetown University

Dental Alumni History

1900 - 1930 | 1930 - 1960 | 1970 – 1980

Early Decades: 1900-1930

“One cannot judge a school by the physical facilities alone…A more accurate gauge…applied to any teaching institution is the caliber of the faculty, the alumni and student body. In this regard the University may point with pride to the School of Dentistry. A dedicated faculty, many of whose members have obtained national prominence in their selected fields, for a study foundation for the school.

“Her alumni are among the leaders of the profession and reflect honorably on their alma mater. The students are enthusiastic and imaginative-eager to learn and take their place in the professional world…Their achievements, both now and in the years to come, will build the reputation by which we will be judged.”
-- Georgetown Dental Journal, 1963

Apollonia: Patron Saint of Dentistry

During the Decian persecution in third-century Alexandria, Egypt, Apollonia, a highly respected Christian deaconess, was dragged into the streets and tortured by a heathen mob. After they knocked out her teeth-some versions say with pincers, some say with hammer and chisel-the rioters built a fire at the city gates and threatened to burn her alive if she would not renounce her faithe and utter blasphemy. Apollonia expressed her refusal by leaping into the flames.

According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, Apollonia belongs to a class of early Christian martyrs who did not await their threatened death, but voluntarily embraced it when confronted with the alternatives of renouncing their faith or perishing. The Catholic Church celebrates Apollonia’s memory on February 9. She is popularly invoked against the toothache, and as patroness of all those employed in alleviating dental pain.

From groundbreaking to completion of the Medical-Dental building in 1930, one of the Fathers of Georgetown was assigned to say weekly mass in honor of Apollonia to bless the construction.

Early Decades at Georgetown

With the addition of its new Dental Department, Georgetown University’s School of Medicine expanded. In order to transfer all appliances and equipment from Washington Dental College and Hospital of Oral Surgery on Massachusetts Avenue, a three-story annex was added to the Medical School, with the faculties of the two schools agreeing to finance the $5,000 addition, two thirds payable by the dental faculty and one-third by the medical.

The 1901-02 Circular of Information stressed the department’s convenient location near several principle railway lines, and the advantages of a dental education in Washington, D.C., with access to national and military libraries and museums.

The faculty was composed of a president and treasurer, five chairs in the Medical School and five in the Dental School, which included techniques and orthodontia; dental histology and pathology; operative dentistry; oral surgery; and prosthetic dentistry.

Read about the 1930s to 1960s at the Dental School.