Today, East Carolina University’s School of Dental Medicine will roll out the welcome mat to the new Ledyard E. Ross Hall at a dedication ceremony on the health sciences campus. Students, faculty, staff and the public will celebrate and tour the 188,000-square-foot school beginning at 2 p.m.
The state-of-the-art facility is named for its benefactor and retired Greenville orthodontist Dr. Ledyard E. Ross, class of ’51. It includes 133 operatories, large “smart classroom” learning halls, faculty offices, seminar rooms and a simulation suite, where dental students can practice and perfect hand-skills.
The school welcomed its inaugural class of 52 pre-doctoral students in August 2011 and its second class of 52 students just two months ago. Until now, dental students have been sharing learning space at the Brody Medical Sciences Building.
While students and faculty are thrilled to move into their new home, Ross Hall serves a dual purpose. In addition to educating students, there are plans to provide reduced-fee dental care for low-income patients. The facility will house specialty suites, including pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, special needs and a clinical research area.
The dental school is dedicated to preparing world-class dentists committed to serving the needs of vulnerable North Carolinians. North Carolina averages three dentists per 10,000 people; this is half the national ratio.
In June, the school opened the first of 10 planned community service learning centers to reach rural, underserved populations. Residents and a supervising dentist are already caring for patients at the Ahoskie center.