Dedication of James J. Fritts, D.D.S. Clinical Care Center

Establishing New Roots for the School of Dentistry

March 2, 2018
IUPUI Dentistry Building
Indianapolis, Indiana


Thank you, President McRobbie. It is my great pleasure to welcome you all on behalf of IUPUI.


IUPUI Leadership and the School of Dentistry

As we dedicate this state-of-the-art clinical care facility this afternoon, IUPUI's 50th anniversary is on the horizon. That great milestone and today's ceremony provide the perfect occasion for us to remember that the roots of the IUPUI campus as a unified campus are firmly planted right here in the School of Dentistry

In 1969, the year of IUPUI's founding, then Mayor of Indianapolis Richard Lugar said that every great city needs a great university. IUPUI is that university for the great city of Indianapolis. And every great university campus needs a leader. In 1969, Maynard K. Hine, faculty member and former dean of the dental school was that leader.

Chancellor Hine left behind a legacy of leadership on our campus.  He served as chancellor from 1969 to 1973, and oversaw a period of tremendous growth and change for IUPUI. In addition to increasing enrollment and credit hours, he led our campus from being a loose collection of schools and programs to being a more unified institution. This growth suggests Chancellor Hine's powerful legacy.

If you know the Hine family, you also know that two of Chancellor Hine's grandsons are also IU-trained dentists, one of them on the faculty of the IU School of Dentistry. This is the legacy inherent in the gift of knowledge. 

I believe Will and Charlie are with us this afternoon. Would you please help me welcome them?

These new clinical spaces will enable our dental school to continue to provide the very best oral health education in the state of Indiana.

Twin Legacies of Leadership and Education

These twin legacies—of leadership and education—continue to guide this great school.

We see the legacy of leadership in the vision and energy that Dean John Williams has brought to this and many other projects within the School of Dentistry. Would you join me in thanking him?

I would also like to add my own thanks to Dr. James Fritts and the Fritts family for making a transformative gift to IUPUI and the dental school. The legacy that you are creating is a gift to future generations that will help transform oral health care in Indiana and beyond. Would you all join me in thanking Dr. Fritts and his family once again?

Let me also express my gratitude to the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the dental school who have supported this project with their time, service, and gifts. Please join me in thanking this remarkable group. I had the good fortune to visit this facility two weeks ago as we kicked off the IUPUI Campus Campaign. Light streamed in through the east-facing windows, making the space bright and inviting.

A Space of Confidence and Comfort

I am speaking now not as a chancellor but as a dedicated patient of the School of Dentistry. In fact, having had a couple of implants last year, I'm always more comfortable when I find myself in a room full of dentists. This is the precisely the confidence and comfort that this bright, well-equipped space will bring to patients.

More broadly, these new clinical spaces will enable our dental school to continue to provide the very best oral health education in the state of Indiana.

This space takes me back to my first years as a faculty member at IUPUI. You see, I'm a mechanical engineer, and I had the opportunity to work with the legendary leader in preventative dentistry George Stookey. He and a group of us from the School of Engineering and Technology, the School of Science, and the School of Medicine worked together on projects related to orthodontics, TMJ, and other areas related to dental biomechanics.

That experience gave me a first-hand view of the outstanding work my colleagues were doing in clinical and research areas. They were resourceful, creative problem solvers. Even with limited resources and space, they were able to excel. Imagine what they will accomplish in this wonderful new space.