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Office of Development


Gifts to UTHealth School of Dentistry make a difference in the lives of patients, students, educators, researchers, and – most of all – to the donors themselves. Our Office of Development specializes in matching dreams with opportunities in ways that maximize the positive impact for everyone involved.

By supporting the school with personally meaningful gifts, donors may also achieve certain tax or investment benefits. Our development team can provide guidance about planned giving; gifts of stocks, securities and real property; and other ways to give that impact the school’s three-part mission of education, patient care, and research.

The Office of Development also works to build a continuing relationship between alumni and the school, so that graduation day is not the end of the connection, but merely a new beginning.

“Our school depends on the support and generosity of our alumni, friends and others if we truly want to be a world-class institution. These additional dollars are difference-makers to the school, and we hope also in the lives of our donors.”

— Dean John A. Valenza, DDS ’81
The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston

Support the School

The Office of Development at UTHealth School of Dentistry can assist you in exploring the best way to make your gift and to ensure the proper use and recognition of your philanthropy. Please call 713-486-4380 or contact Senior Development Director Beth Wilson for more information. A description of giving options follows:

Gifts or Pledges of Cash

Gifts and/or pledges of cash make the most immediate impact and can be applied to any of the initiative goals: clinical excellence, research, faculty endowment, student scholarships, or community care. For pledges, UT System requires that payments be spread over no more than five years, and that pledges be more than the established minimum.

Gifts of Securities, Real Estate, and Other Property Exchanges

Gifts of negotiable property, such as real estate, stocks, bonds, oil and gas royalties, and mineral rights are all acceptable as one-time gifts or, in some cases, to satisfy pledges made by the donor. Transfers of property are made through UT System offices, with 100 percent of your gift value applied toward the intended purpose at the School of Dentistry. With real estate and negotiable securities, the value of the gift is tied to the date of receipt, with these properties converted to cash for the intended gift purpose. In some cases, such as oil and gas royalties and mineral rights, the properties may be held by UT System to provide ongoing income to the dental school.

Gifts 'in Honor of' or 'in Memory of'

Any gift can be made in honor of, or in memory of, an individual. This is a special way to honor a family member, a respected professor or mentor, a loved one, etc.

Bequests and Planned Gifts

In many cases, a donor may find a greater ability to give through planned gifts, such as a bequest in his or her estate, or the creation of a trust that gives income to the School of Dentistry and keeps the assets for your heirs, or vice versa. Planned gifts can also help reduce the tax burden on estates and individuals. The UT System offices and those of UT Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have experts in this field who can map out possible methods for your planned gift. As with any estate or planned gift, it is important to gain the advice of your financial adviser.

Naming Opportunities

Recognition of major gifts can include the opportunity to have your name, or that of someone being honored or memorialized, attached. Gifts to the new School of Dentistry can include appropriate recognition in a laboratory, clinic, office space or academic area. Scholarships and professorial endowments also offer recognition opportunities for your gift.



Gray Line

Donor News

  • Powers’ gift will enhance restorative dentistry, prosthodontics research

    Dr. John Powers

    Strengthening a well-established legacy of generosity to research at the School of Dentistry, John Powers, PhD, and his wife Susan Powers, PharmD, named the school as a beneficiary for part of their estate — a planned gift estimated at $600,000.

    Their commitment continues the tradition of giving the couple began in 1999 when they established the John and Susan Powers Dental Student Research Fund. In 2013, they created the John M. Powers, PhD, Professorship in Oral Biomaterials in the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics.

    The Powers’ estate gift will elevate that professorship to a distinguished professorship, increase the corpus of the student research fund, and establish the John M. and Susan M. Powers Dental Endowed Research Fund.

    John Powers is a professor of oral biomaterials in the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics and has a long and distinguished career in academic dentistry. He has authored more than 1,000 scientific articles, abstracts, books and chapters, and he serves on the editorial boards of numerous dental journals.

    “We are humbled and deeply honored by the Powers’ decision to entrust us with these resources,” said John Valenza,  DDS ’81, dean of UTHealth School of Dentistry and holder of the William N. Finnegan III Distinguished Professorship in the Dental Sciences. “For so long, they’ve been strong supporters of the school and our efforts in dental discovery, and their continued philanthropic vision will greatly enhance our research abilities for years to come.”


  • Dr. and Mrs. Koo pledge $100K to support OMS postdoctoral program

    Dr. Steve Koo

    School of Dentistry alumnus Steve Koo, DDS ’99, and wife Jessica have pledged $100,000 to enhance the Steve and Jessica Koo Endowed Fund, which supports the postdoctoral program of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.  

    The university matched the Koos’ commitment through the recent Game Changers Initiative, increasing the fund by a total of $200,000.

    “I have realized throughout the years that I’ve been blessed with great training and great mentorship,” Steve Koo said. “It’s a small token to give back for the appreciation of all that we’ve been given.”

    The Koos also helped found the Thomas M. Weil Professorship in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, currently held by Clinical Associate Professor James Wilson, DDS.


  • Delta Dental gift means scholarships for promising pediatric dentistry students

    Delta Dental of California and its affiliated companies, which include Delta Dental Insurance Company, have established a $250,000 endowment to fund scholarships for future pediatric dental professionals.

    The endowment will make scholarships available to fourth-year dental and second-year dental hygiene students who have shown the most interest, knowledge and proficiency in pediatric dentistry.

    As the dental insurance provider for UTHealth employees, Delta Dental, has built a strong relationship with the school. The company demonstrated its philanthropic commitment in 2011 with a $350,000 donation to the School of Dentistry Building Fund.

    “Scholarships are invaluable for attracting the most gifted dental and dental hygiene students who will someday treat our community’s children,” said Gary Badger, DDS, MS, chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and holder of the Catherine M. Flaitz, DDS, MS Professorship in Pediatric Dentistry. “Some of these students might not be able to afford an education without the financial assistance made possible by friends like Delta Dental.”

  • Alumni use Game Changers to create $1.7 million gift for UTSD

    Dr. John Helfrick

    Five alumni organizations of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry have pooled their donations to turn a combined gift of $853,000 into more than $1.7 million for the school, thanks to matching funds from UTHealth’s Game Changers Initiative.

    The Game Changers Initiative provided a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $1 million, for qualified major gifts to establish an endowment or add to an existing endowment. The largest single contribution – $800,000 – came from the Edward C. Hinds Academy Foundation, an association of UTSD’s Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery alumni, to establish The E.C. Hinds Academy Foundation-John Helfrick Endowment. Dr. Helfrick was a former chairman of the department.

    “This gift by our oral surgery alumni is transformational,” said Dean John Valenza, DDS, “and now the university’s matching funds will make their gift even more impactful. The Hinds Foundation has set a new standard for giving by an alumni organization. I’m delighted they have also chosen to honor former department chair, Dr. John Helfrick, especially in light of what this gift will mean for the department and the school.”

    Other alumni organizations that have contributed so far include:

    • The Periodontics Alumni Association of The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston, to create the new UTHPAA Heritage Fund in support of residents, faculty and the department;
    • The Alumni Foundation – School of Dentistry at Houston, in support of a new fund for veterans’ oral health care;
    • The University of Texas – Houston Dental Hygienists’ Alumni Association, toward student scholarships;
    • and The Thomas W. Wild Pediatric Dentistry Foundation, adding to The Thomas W. Wild Pediatric Dentistry Endowment.

    Valenza said the Periodontics Alumni Association, in particular, embraced the idea of creating an alumni endowment as something they can promote among their members, with goals for giving and growing the fund.

    “They’re considering a mission statement that says, ‘Investing in the future through the vision of today,’” Valenza said. “It’s exciting to know we share that vision.”

    Another new endowment matched through Game Changers is the David B. Meraz Fund for Veterans’ Oral Health, which will support the school’s tradition of providing oral health care to underserved populations in the community. Valenza and his wife, Debbie Valenza, established the fund in memory of her father, a U.S. Army veteran. The fund also has support from The Alumni Foundation and various alumni donors.

    Others who share an interest in the goals these endowments will serve — oral and maxillofacial surgery, periodontics, veterans’ oral health and scholarships for dental hygiene students — may still contribute. For information about ways to help, contact Beth Wilson, senior development director with UTHealth.

    “I am especially grateful to UTHealth President Giuseppe Colasurdo for his support of our school by allowing us to use the Game Changers Initiative across the five alumni organizations who gave,” Valenza said.