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School of Dentistry, Cooley Center celebrate 10 years on Cambridge Street & East Road

Published: June 16, 2022 by Alexandria Brown

Dental student Cooper Mohrmann (center) and his band, Cooper Mohrmann & Company, perform at the 10 Year BBQ Celebration, hosted by the School of Dentistry and Auxiliary Enterprises.
Dental student Cooper Mohrmann (center) and his band, Cooper Mohrmann & Company, perform at the 10 Year BBQ Celebration, hosted by the School of Dentistry and Auxiliary Enterprises. Photo by Brian Schnupp.

Just over a decade ago, UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry relocated to the south campus of the Texas Medical Center and UTHealth Houston opened its first free-standing University Life Center next door. To celebrate this momentous milestone, the School of Dentistry, in conjunction with Auxiliary Enterprises, held a Texas-style barbeque on June 8 in the courtyard of the Denton A. Cooley, MD, and Ralph C. Cooley, DDS, University Life Center.

June 8 marked 10 years to the day the building was dedicated.

With over 650 members of the School of Dentistry and Auxiliary Enterprises communities in attendance, the three-hour event featured live music from first-year dental student Cooper Mohrmann and his band, Cooper Mohrmann & Company, as well as lawn games and sweet treats. 

Guests were encouraged to socialize, sharing the memories they’ve made at the School of Dentistry while creating new ones.

About the School of Dentistry

The dental school was the largest single-project capital outlay ever for UTHealth Houston with a cost of $155 million. Major funding came from both state and local sources, including $60 million in tuition revenue bonds, $18 million from the Permanent University Fund, and $7 million raised through the dental school’s Open to Health initiative.

Donor-recognition walls, each with a background of pink marble from the old dental branch building, grace the first-and second-floor lobbies. Clinics, research centers, classrooms, meeting spaces, and even a department have been named to recognize gifts from alumni and friends of the School of Dentistry.

Designed by WHR Architects of Houston and built by Hensel Phelps Construction Company, the project created 1,800 jobs over the three-year construction period.

About the Cooley Center

The Cooley Center serves as a multi-purpose venue for UTHealth faculty, students, and staff, the institutions of the Texas Medical Center, and the Houston community at large. Located adjacent to the Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences Building and UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry, the 14,000-square-foot center has a modular design that allows for a variety of events and audiences. In its largest configuration, the center can serve as a standing reception area for 600, a seated auditorium for 400, or a banquet hall for 220. The center can also be configured into a range of smaller spaces to accommodate seminars, lectures, and other meetings.

The Cooley Center offers state-of-the-art technology, including wireless connectivity, advanced video and sound systems, teleconferencing and distance learning capabilities, and on-site technology support. Other features include a warming kitchen for catering services, convenient parking, a covered outdoor patio, and an open landscaped courtyard.

The conference center is named in honor of the renowned heart surgeon Denton A. Cooley, MD, surgeon-in-chief, founder and president emeritus of the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, and his father, Ralph C. Cooley, DDS, who was a 1908 alumnus of UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry. In keeping with the vision and generosity of the Cooley family, UTHealth Houston is committed to utilizing this space to support the enrichment of university life, facilitate collaboration within the Texas Medical Center, and promote the health sciences. Through it all, the School of Dentistry has consistently provided high-quality education, patient care, service, and research, pursuing a vision of “Improving Oral Health… Improving Overall Health.”

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