UNMC College of Dentistry dean to step down in 2014

Over past 13 years, Dr. John Reinhardt led college to new heights in education, research and outreach

John Reinhardt, D.D.S., who has served as dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry for 13 years, announced today that he will step down from his post on June 30, 2014.

“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as dean since 2000, and now it is time for someone new to guide the College of Dentistry to ever higher levels of achievement,” Dr. Reinhardt said. “The successes of the college would not have been possible without the dedicated energy and support of our faculty and staff, and for that I am very grateful.”

UNMC Chancellor Harold M. Maurer, M.D., said that Dr. Reinhardt led the College of Dentistry to new heights in education, research and outreach. 

“Under John’s leadership, the College of Dentistry has continued to attract and educate the best dental students in the nation,” Dr. aurer said. “In addition, national research funding in the college has risen dramatically, and the college has provided dental care to many underserved individuals across the state. We appreciate all of John’s work, and we’re pleased that he will remain at UNMC and continue to serve on the dental faculty.” 

Dr. Reinhardt earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill., in 1971 and his dental degree from Loyola University in Chicago in 1975. He received a master’s degree in operative dentistry from the University of Iowa in 1979 and a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University in 1988. He served on the University of Iowa dental faculty for 22 years before coming to UNMC in 2000.

Dr. Reinhardt said several reasons led to his decision to step down as dean. He noted his tenure, which will be 14 years, is lengthy for a dean. Also, the college surpassed its $12 million fund-raising goal as part of the Campaign for Nebraska more than two years ahead of schedule and numerous renovation projects to the college’s clinical areas are concluding.  That modernization of clinics was part of more than $15 million in facility improvements that took place under Dr. Reinhardt’s watch.

Other highlights from his tenure included:

  • Incoming dental classes had the highest GPA in the nation for nine of 13 years.
  • Dental students ranked fourth and first in the nation on Part I and Part II, respectively, of the national board scores on the final year the scores were reported (2007).  To date, student pass rates have been above the national average rates for 22 consecutive exams.
  • Dental hygiene students have had a 100 percent national board pass rate for every exam since 2000. This encompasses about 300 students.
  • The college’s annual NIH funding support over the 13-year period increased more than 100-fold over the previous five-year average, from under $30,000 to more than $3 million.
  • The college ranked in the top 20, among the nation’s dental schools, for dollars of NIH support per faculty.
  • The college initiated Children’s Dental Day, held twice per year since 2001. To date, more than $2.7 million in services have been provided to needy children at the Dental Days, which take place in Lincoln and communities across the Nebraska Panhandle.
  • Opened the West Division Dental Hygiene program in Gering, from which more than 35 students have graduated.
  • Initiated the Dental Hygiene Sealant program, which has provided more than 30,000 sealants to about 10,000 low-income children.
  • Doubled the value of the endowed funds available to the College of Dentistry through the University of Nebraska Foundation, and created about 100 new funds specifically for the college.

Dr. Reinhardt said that he plans to assume faculty duties once he steps down from the dean’s position. Until then, there will be no slowing down.

“Challenges are always present, but we have a great year to look forward to.”

Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.

What others are saying:

“John Reinhardt, D.D.S., has done an outstanding job moving the college forward. The support he’s gotten from alumni allowed him to exceed his $12 million fundraising goal more than two years ahead of schedule. In addition he has always been so sensitive to the oral health care needs of Nebraskans. From the Children’s Dental Day events held in Lincoln and the Panhandle to insuring Nebraska students are nurtured and encouraged to practice in the state.”

Thomas G. Fagot, D.D.S., 1983 College of Dentistry Alum and founder of Lexington Family Dentistry in Lexington, Neb.

“Dean Reinhardt and his wife Claudia have been so supportive of the students and alumni. It’s been my pleasure and privilege to work with him. He cares so deeply about the school, he is a wonderful ambassador for the UNMC College of Dentistry among the other Big Ten schools and he has this wonderful easy charm. He is so enthusiastic. He’s wonderful at reaching out to unite the alumni and keep them connected to the college. He works tirelessly to promote the COD to the other Big Ten schools. He was instrumental in the renovation of the college, he’s created a healthier environment that is much more efficient and pleasant for the students.”

Clara Tao, D.D.S., 1981 alum and president of the UNMC College of Dentistry Alumni Association currently practicing in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“As the NU Foundation’s Director of Development for the UNMC College of Dentistry, I have immensely enjoyed working with Dean Reinhardt for the past 13 years.  His visionary goal was to make our dental college a regional and national epicenter for premier oral health education; under his leadership, the college has made terrific strides in achieving that lofty goal.  His genuinely affable and approachable personality helped Dean Reinhardt build positive relationships with alumni and donors; he’s proved to be a wonderful asset and partner in advocating for charitable support to advance and improve dental education at the University of Nebraska.  Dental alumni have responded enthusiastically and generously – they’ve seen Dean Reinhardt lead the college through massive clinical and facility renovations, vastly expanded research programs, and enhanced patient care programs particularly for underserved populations --  all of which has strengthened the UNMC College of Dentistry’s status as a world-class leader in comprehensive oral health education. Dean Reinhardt will long be recognized at the University of Nebraska for many talents; at the heart of it is his devotion to dentistry and dental education.”

Susan Norby, Senior Director of Development, University of Nebraska Foundation

“I’m proud to say that I was on the search committee that recommended John’s hiring.  Clearly, John has led the dental school to many meaningful successes. The renovation of the dental school facility in Lincoln is something for which he should receive a lot of credit. Our faculty are now practicing – and our students are learning – in facilities that are terrific for both them and the patients. Our pediatric dental facilities in Omaha are among the best in the nation, as well.  Moreover, John was always very supportive of good ideas, and he was never too busy to say hello to everyone in the building – whether that was a senior faculty member or a prospective student who was visiting.  John leaves a lasting legacy.”

Curt Kuster, D.D.S., recently retired faculty member whose served most recently as dean for student affairs and director of admissions.




Tom O'Connor
UNMC Public Relations
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Bill O'Neill
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