The largest-ever alumni gift to the New York University College of Dentistry, $5 million, will create the George and Ann Witkin Graduate Center for Clinical Excellence.
Dr. Witkin, a 1942 graduate of the college, was associated with NYUCD for more than 30 years, as a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Periodontology, Associate Dean and Interim Dean. He retired in 1978.
"The George and Ann Witkin Graduate Center for Clinical Excellence," said Dr. Michael C. Alfano, dean of NYUCD, "launches a new model for specialty training and care. It will enable a highly-networked community of postgraduate programs to provide both state-of-the-art specialty training and advanced care for patients with challenging needs.
"We will soon begin construction on the first phase of the facility, which will include one floor dedicated to periodontology and implant dentistry connected by an internal glass elevator to the floor above, which will focus on prosthodontic care. But more important than the wonderful new facility will be the practice and teaching model by which prosthodontists, periodontists, implant dentists and oral surgeons, and eventually orthodontists and endodontists, will collaborate in the treatment of patients and the teaching of students. On behalf of the entire NYUCD community, I want to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to George and Ann for their unprecedented gift, which empowers us to begin this exciting new approach to postgraduate education."
Dr. Witkin says that he has long believed in the importance of nurturing students, but that both as a student and a teacher, he saw too little of it.
"When I visited the college recently," he said, "I was extremely impressed with the changes I saw in the quality of student-faculty relationships, and with the care being given to students, thanks to Dean Alfano's leadership. When he told me about the environment he wanted to create for specialty education and care, and about the kind of collaboration that would guide the enterprise, I knew that making a naming gift was the right thing for Ann and me to do. In truth, after what we saw and what we learned of his plans for the future, we could hardly do otherwise."
At approximately 50,000 square feet, the George and Ann Witkin Graduate Center for Clinical Excellence ultimately will consist of five full floors dedicated to specialty training and patient care in periodontology and implant dentistry, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics and pediatric dentistry.
The Witkin Center will have the look and feel of the finest specialty practices in Manhattan. Patients will arrive through a separate entrance and will take an elevator maintained exclusively for their use. Faculty and residents from all disciplines will work side by side on diagnosis, planning and treatment procedures, always with a critical focus on quality patient care.
"The Witkin Center will be driven by a philosophy of interaction and collaboration among the specialties," says Dean Alfano, "because we believe that a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach will promote the finest patient care and speed the transfer of new knowledge from generation to generation. Our appreciation for what George and Ann Witkin have done is boundless. They believe that NYUCD can set the standard for specialty training and care, and we will not disappoint them."