Texas A&M College of Dentistry: A Brief History
Texas A&M College of Dentistry was established in 1905 as State Dental College, a private, three-year dental school located above a downtown Dallas grocery store where the Adolphus Hotel now stands. The college was founded by Dr. David E. Morrow and Dr. T.G. Bradford, two St. Louis dentists who came to Dallas specifically to open a dental school. The first class, comprised of students who transferred from other dental colleges, graduated in 1906. Only one of the four graduates was a Texan. Two were from Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) and the other was from Japan.
In 1916, an advisory board of eight Dallas County Dental Society members assumed management of the college. Two years later, the school’s advisory board voted to merge State Dental College with Baylor University and rename the school Baylor University College of Dentistry. The quality of education offered by the college flourished, resulting in national recognition and a “Class A” accreditation rating.
The dental school thrived during the 1920s, with basic science classes taught by faculty at Baylor College of Medicine, which was then located in Dallas. In 1943, however, the M.D. Anderson Foundation offered tempting incentives to both the medical and dental schools if they moved to Houston. The medical school accepted, while the dental school chose to remain in Dallas.
The college struggled after the medical school’s departure, but successfully rebuilt its faculty and launched a building campaign that resulted in the opening of a new 45,000-square-foot clinic building in 1950. A basic science wing, completed in 1954, included space for a dental hygiene school. In 1955, the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene—one of about 20 dental hygiene programs in the nation at the time—admitted 32 students in its first class. In 1971, the dental school separated from Baylor University to qualify for state funding and was renamed Baylor College of Dentistry. Soon after the separation, the college began planning a new, state-of-the art addition and renovation of the dental school, which was completed in 1977.
The college’s board of trustees began discussing the possibility of aligning with a major university system in the early 1990s. In 1995, the trustees voted to merge with The Texas A&M University System. The merger became effective in September 1996. In addition to helping the college maintain long-term financial stability, the A&M System offered the opportunity for collaboration among components. In 1999, the College of Dentistry became a founding member of the Texas A&M Health Science Center. The college’s current name, Texas A&M College of Dentistry, reflects the college’s alliance with Texas A&M University, which occurred in 2013.