T. Bob Davis, DMD, has been recognized with the Honorary Alumnus Award for his more than 50 years of teaching, dedication, and service to humanity and the students, residents, faculty, and staff of UTHealth Houston School of Dentistry.
Davis, who was scheduled to present two awards, was unaware of this honor when Dean John A. Valenza, DDS, asked he join him on stage during the School of Dentistry’s annual DDS Senior Awards in late April.
“Many of you know him for his passion and commitment to dental missions, having taken over 1,500 dental students, 500 dentists, and 500 hygienists, assistants, and staff on one of his more than 40-plus years of dental mission trips to Mexico and Central America, sharing his knowledge, skills, and talent,” Valenza said. “It is my pleasure tonight that the School of Dentistry is presenting Dr. T. Bob Davis the distinction of Honorary Alumnus of our school.”
The announcement was met with an enthusiastic standing ovation from attendees.
“That means more to me than you can believe, because your students are the ones who have made me what I am,” said Davis to Valenza. “Forty-five years ago, I started doing this with a Baylor group, and in 1999, your group started with us. Your students inspire me.”
Turning his attention to the students in the crowd, “At 82 years old, why would I still be doing this? Because y’all are still inspiring. When you go with me, you’re so impressive as wonderful colleagues and respectful of adults. You have such a great sense of team play. I just can’t say how much I appreciate the students that come out of this school — some of the finest in the country.”
Davis noted the faculty, so many of whom he said had become dear friends and several who have served as mentors on mission trips, before expressing his admiration for the School of Dentistry. “Thank you, I feel so honored to act like I’m a graduate of [UTHealth Houston] School of Dentistry,” he said.
Davis, a native of Troy, Ala., is a graduate of Samford University and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry.
He served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force for two years and has been practicing general dentistry for 52 years in Dallas.
Davis is nationally and internationally known for his many contributions to dentistry, piano performance, and mission volunteerism.
The vocation of dentistry has seen Davis serve in leadership roles in the American Dental Association (ADA), the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), and the Academy of Dentistry International (ADI).
Davis is a fellow of AGD, ADI, the International College of Dentists (ICD), the American College of Dentists, and the Pierre Fauchard Academy. His awards include Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, Who’s Who in Texas, and Who’s Who in Dentistry, and he is a four-time recipient of the Dentist of the Year Award in Dallas.
Davis was named the 2014 Texas Dentist of the Year. He received the ADA’s Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2018 and was recognized with the 2021 ICD Humanitarian Award. In 2020, the International Christian Medical and Dental Associations awarded Davis the Servant of Christ Award.
He has volunteered years of service to his church as a deacon, youth worker, and pianist while devoting his dental expertise to children’s homes and schools — and to others in their community — in Texas, Mexico, Nicaragua, India, and Guatemala.
His avocation of music is well known, having recorded over 13 albums of his piano stylings. For over a decade, Davis has served as the convocation pianist for the AGD and ADI, as well as for ICD, and he previously provided the music for worship service during the ADA Annual Session for seven years.