School of Dentistry receives $2 million gift from Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation to enhance oral health care for individuals with special needs

The $2 million gift from Delta Dental will enhance oral health care for individuals with special needs, while helping educate tomorrow’s dental professionals, including current dental students pictured above.

Marquette President Michael R. Lovell today announced a $2 million gift from longtime supporter Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation directed to the university’s School of Dentistry. The gift will support significant technology enhancements and the establishment of the Delta Dental Advanced Care Clinic, a dedicated area that will strengthen care for individuals with special needs, enhance focused training, and create “dental homes.” This specialty clinic is anticipated to serve more than 1,200 patients annually.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue our relationship with Marquette School of Dentistry as we advance our shared mission of providing outstanding oral health care to all patients, and most especially with this gift, to provide for patients with special needs,” said Dennis Peterson, president of Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation. “This gift will also provide support for the next generation of dentists as they continue their education at an exceptional university.”

Marquette School of Dentistry is Wisconsin’s only dental school. Last year, 74% of Marquette School of Dentistry graduates stayed in Wisconsin to practice. The School of Dentistry treats patients from 66 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. The school currently provides 110,000 annual visits, including more than $16 million in dental service in Milwaukee alone.

“We are sincerely grateful for this gift from Delta Dental, which will significantly advance our world-class Dental School and the next generation of dentists who embody our Catholic, Jesuit tradition of serving others,” President Lovell said. “This is a big step forward in enhancing dental education, while enabling us to fulfill our mission in treating all residents in need of care.”

Gift will accelerate major effort to revitalize School of Dentistry clinics

Dean William Lobb shared that Delta Dental’s generous gift will accelerate Marquette’s “vitally important” fundraising efforts centered on improving oral health care for patients while educating tomorrow’s dental professionals.

Under Lobb’s direction, the School of Dentistry project will include enhancing and rebuilding 151 high-tech operatories. In addition, the upgrade will incorporate the new Delta Dental Advanced Care Clinic, the pediatrics clinic, and specialty clinics in radiology, oral surgery, prosthodontics, periodontics, orthodontics, and endodontics.

Construction will take place during summer months to ensure continued operations in all clinics. The project is expected to be completed by 2026.

“The reality is that tomorrow’s dental practitioners need to train with state-of-the-art technology with an eye towards enhanced access for all patients,” Lobb said. “Delta Dental’s investment is an inspiration. When you combine their support with the unmatched passion of our Marquette Dental community, we believe we are ready to rise to the next level.”

Marquette opened its current facility in 2002 under Lobb’s leadership and became recognized as a national model for excellence in dental education. Since then, the dental school has provided care in more than 1.7 million patient visits.

University leaders are pursuing state and federal funding on the current project, which will require matching fundraising efforts. Marquette dentistry alumni, parents and friends have contributed nearly $3 million to the project, bringing total fundraising to date to nearly $5 million.

Fundraising momentum continues

President Lovell shared that December 2021 was the most successful month in the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, Time to Rise: The Marquette Promise to Be The Difference. The university generated $45.5 million in funds across the university during that time. Dr. Scott Stanek (Arts ’77, Dent ’82) is serving as a national co-chair for the campaign. He and his son Peter (H Sci, ’08, Dent ’12) are helping drive efforts within the Dental School, with Peter serving on the Dental School’s campaign committee.

The Stanek family donated a previous gift focused on special needs dental care that is helping dentists adapt existing skills, while learning new techniques to meet behavioral, physical and cognitive challenges.

“When we combine the advanced training and educational preparation with the new state-of-the-art Delta Dental Advanced Care Clinic, special needs patients across the region will experience a breakthrough,” Dr. Scott Stanek said. “We are grateful for Delta Dental of Wisconsin’s philanthropic leadership that will open doors for so many people in need.”

Time to Rise: The Marquette Promise to Be The Difference

Marquette’s $750 million Time to Rise comprehensive fundraising campaign is the most ambitious in Marquette’s 140-year history. It is elevating resources to advance the university’s mission and pillars of excellence, leadership, faith, and service. The university has raised more than $569 million to date, amounting to 76% of its goal. More than 54,000 donors have already supported Time to Rise, including 44% of donors making their first-ever gift to the university.

About Delta Dental of Wisconsin

For 60 years, Delta Dental of Wisconsin (DDWI) has been working to maintain healthy communities and healthy teeth. Delta Dental of Wisconsin provides dental benefits and services to more Wisconsin-based companies, subscribers, and their family members than any other insurance carrier. Through its Foundation, Delta Dental is committed to advancing solutions for Wisconsin’s oral health by initiating, collaborating with, and supporting programs that extend access to dental care, ensure a strong dental workforce, and improve the oral health of underserved and vulnerable populations.

Delta Dental of Wisconsin is headquartered in Stevens Point, with sales offices in Milwaukee and Madison. As part of the nationwide Delta Dental Plans Association, DDWI joins 38 other Delta Dental plans to serve more than 83 million Americans with dental insurance.