The faculty of MCG first discussed the idea of opening a school of dentistry in October
1868. According to the faculty minutes, members rejected Dr. Rivers letter proposing
the school to teach dentistry for the upcoming term, but promised to consider the
program during future meetings. The next serious references to establishing a dental
school occurred in 1897 and 1902 with Dean Eugene Foster. He strongly urged the Board
of Trustees to open the school and provided various figures to support his argument.
The college proposed the idea to the Board of Regents in 1937, but they deemed the
program non-vital. In 1960, several community dentists formed the Augusta Dental Society
and they actively worked for establishing the school. President O'Rear also supported
establishing the dental school.
In 1965, the Board of Regents approved the establishment of the School of Dentistry. The Board appointed Dr. Judson C. Hickey as the first Dean in 1966, a position he held until his retirement in 1987. The school offered the Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene in 1967 and the first class graduated in 1969. The first dental doctoral students were accepted in 1969, and the first Doctor of Dental Medicine degrees were awarded in June 1973. The dental faculty taught the first dental classes in two non-permanent buildings on Floyd Street until the permanent building on the corner of Fifteenth Street and Gwinnett, now called Laney-Walker, was built.
The faculty moved into the new facility in June 1971. The school added several new advanced programs in the 1970s: oral surgery, periodontics, oral biology and prosthodontics. The school continues to offer dental students eight different disciplines for degrees.
Dr. Judson C. Hickey was recruited in 1966 to create the Medical College of Georgia's School of Dentistry. He had been assistant dean at the University of Kentucky School of Dentistry and was a noted researcher. The School obtained a national reputation of excellence within a few years of its founding, due to Dr. Hickeys recruitment of faculty with an advanced degree in a basic science as well as their dental degree and a sense of humanity. He also encouraged the faculty to create a stimulating environment for the students. Dr. Hickey retired after two decades of service.
Dr. David Myers, one of the founding faculty of the School of Dentistry, followed Dr. Hickey as Dean in 1989, continuing the tradition of excellence in teaching and research. Students and faculty continued to receive national recognition during his tenure as dean and several innovative teaching models were developed. Dr. Myers retired in 2000.
Dr. Connie Drisko, was appointed the third Dean of the School of Dentistry in May 2003 after serving as associate dean for academic planning/faculty development and director of clinical research at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry.