University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (often referred to as Penn Dental Medicine or simply Penn Dental) is the dental school of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), an Ivy League university located in Philadelphia. It is one of twelve graduate schools at Penn and one of several dental schools in Pennsylvania. It is part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

University of Pennsylvania
School of Dental Medicine
Schattner Center.jpg
The school's main entrance at the Robert Schattner Center
Former name
Dental Department, University of Pennsylvania
MottoLeges sine moribus vanae
Motto in English
Laws without morals are in vain
Established1878 (1878) (first established in 1852 as Philadelphia College of Dental Surgery)[1][2][3]
FounderDr. Charles J. Essig
Parent institution
University of Pennsylvania
Academic affiliation
University of Pennsylvania Health System
PresidentAmy Gutmann
DeanMark S Wolff, DDS, PhD
Academic staff
Administrative staff
240 South 40th Street
, , ,

39°57′10″N 75°12′12″W / 39.952704°N 75.203259°W / 39.952704; -75.203259Coordinates: 39°57′10″N 75°12′12″W / 39.952704°N 75.203259°W / 39.952704; -75.203259
Logo for the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine


Dental students observing in the Oral Surgery Clinic at the former Philadelphia General Hospital, 1910

Penn Dental Medicine's earliest instance was the Philadelphia College of Dental Surgery, which was founded in 1852. The school was renamed the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery in 1878. That same year, Dr. Charles J. Essig founded the Dental Department of the University of Pennsylvania, serving as the first Dean until 1883. Later, in 1909, the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery was absorbed into the Penn.

The school's first facilities at Penn's West Philadelphia campus were housed in Medical Hall, later renamed Logan Hall and now Claudia Cohen Hall. This building was later home to the Wharton School, and currently houses several departments of 0the School of Arts and Sciences. In 1879, Penn Dental Medicine moved to Dental Hall, its first own building on Penn's West Philadelphia campus.

In 1897, a dentist and native of Philadelphia by the name of Thomas W. Evans left his estate to create and maintain a dental school that would be "not inferior to any already established."[4] Evans' generosity made possible the construction of the Evans Building (officially called the Thomas W. Evans Museum and Dental Institute) which opened in 1915, the best-equipped dental building in the nation at that time.[citation needed]


Penn Dental's Thomas W. Evans Institute

Penn Dental has three main buildings, all of which are connected to each other. The Robert Schattner Center, dedicated in 2002, serves as the main entrance to the Dental campus. It has clinical facilities on three levels dedicated to oral surgery to oral and maxillofacial surgery, an emergency clinic, and a faculty practice. The center bears the name of visionary benefactor and Penn Dental alumnus Robert Schattner (D’48), whose gift played a leadership role in successfully funding the building project.

The Leon Levy Center for Oral Health Research, dedicated in 1969, is the school's hub of research activities, made possible by the generosity of Dr. Leon Levy (D'1915). Levy spent most of his life in the communications field (including helping form the Columbia Broadcasting System). The center plays a pivotal role in Penn Dental, providing a home for basic science faculty and the facilities needed to support research programs. Penn remains among the few dental schools in the country with its own basic science faculty and a leader in oral health sciences research.

The Thomas W. Evans Museum and Dental Institute, originally dedicated in 1915, is named for one of Penn Dental's earliest benefactors, Thomas W. Evans. Evans built a dental career on the other side of the Atlantic, becoming the dental surgeon and confidant of Napoleon III. The collegiate gothic, Tutor-style building was considered the most advanced dental teaching facility in the nation when completed in 1915 and helped establish new standards for teaching clinical dentistry in the United States[citation needed]. Today, the Evans Building remains the site of most of the school’s classroom instruction and clinical training.

In the atrium of the Schattner Center sits the carriage that Evans and Napoleon III's wife, Eugénie de Montijo, used to escape Prussia's invasion into France.[5]


The school’s research enterprise is multidisciplinary, spanning both the basic and clinical sciences, concerned with the structures and functions of tissues and fluids and microbial flora in the oral cavity. Collectively, Penn Dental Medicine investigators contribute to the emerging science and practices shaping dental care. Investigations range from such areas as oral microbiology and virology, inflammation and immunity, tooth development, and the use of analgesics and sedatives, to the cellular biology of connective tissues and bone, the applications for state-of-the-art dental materials, and the causes and effects of periodontal disease. Interdisciplinary research is a hallmark of the University of Pennsylvania, and Penn Dental Medicine investigators collaborate extensively with faculty throughout the Penn campus.

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ Smith, Thomas Kilby, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, p. 2234 (1917)
  2. ^ Warren, George W., Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery]?, in History of Dental Surgery, Vol. 1 (Charles R.E. Koch, ed.) (1909)
  3. ^ Griffin, William L.J. History of the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery, in Fourth International Dental Conference (1905)
  4. ^ Hughes, Samuel (November–December 1999), "Crowns and Confidences", The Pennsylvania Gazette, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania, 98 (2)
  5. ^ "How Penn Dental Acquired an Empress' 19th–Century Carriage". 34th Street Magazine. January 23, 2018. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  6. ^ a b University of Pennsylvania Alumni Profiles
  7. ^ University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine at the SABR Bio Project, by Brian McKenna, retrieved November 21, 2013
  8. ^ New York Times "PENNA., 16; GETTYSBURG, 6." October 5, 1905
  9. ^ College Football Data Warehouse 1904 Penn Football Results
  10. ^ Pittsburg State University Collegian[permanent dead link] "He believed in complete equality" by Monica Hart, February 25, 2010

External linksEdit