Thank you, Dean Anderson
Dean Gary C. Anderson, DDS, MS, will step down from his role as dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry this month after three and a half years. He was named interim dean in November of 2016 and permanent dean in March of 2018.
“Gary has provided outstanding leadership for the school,” said U of M Executive Vice President and Provost Karen Hanson. “Building on the existing strengths of the school, its strategic plan and the priorities of the University, Gary has established a firm financial footing for the school, and he has overseen all elements of its mission with great distinction.”
Dr. Anderson’s first priority was to bring stability to the school’s finances, which had posted an approximate $1.7 million structural deficit in fiscal year 2017. He sought to create more inclusive and transparent decision-making processes within the school. Advances in curriculum design and development of a flexible faculty practice plan were achieved under his tenure.
“This was not a job I ever imagined having,” he said. “While I did not seek the deanship, and have now chosen to step down, I want the school community to know that my term as dean has been the greatest privilege and honor of my professional career.”
Dr. Anderson’s approachable and straightforward style helped to improve trust and morale within the school. Throughout his deanship, he maintained his weekly practice commitment, which he says kept him grounded professionally. Prior to becoming dean, he served as director of the University of Minnesota’s Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic and advanced research in temporomandibular disorders, orofacial pain and cleft and craniofacial anomalies through his investigations and publications.
Reflecting on the School of Dentistry’s future and the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted much of the school’s operations and the daily lives of students and alumni, Dr. Anderson urged members of the school community to work together and reach higher.
“We have achieved a lot together, and our faculty, staff and students deserve to be recognized,” he said. “But I want to make clear that we should not be satisfied, in any way, with our current status. Our future success will depend on believing in ourselves and each other.”
“Almost 40 years ago we faced a disease which forever changed the clinical practice of dentistry, HIV,” he said. “PPE became part of our daily lives then. The current SARS-CoV2 challenge is going to have at least that level of impact. I am confident we are up to the challenge and our new dean, Keith Mays, will prove a most able leader through the times ahead.”