AGD announces retirement of executive director

Oct. 15, 2003
Harold E. "Hal" Donnell, Jr. dedicated 30 years of service, commitment to excellence

After 30 years of service to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), Harold E. "Hal" Donnell, Jr., CAE, area resident of Wilmette, Ill. and formerly from Towson, Md, will be closing this chapter of his life on Dec. 31, 2003.

Donnell has served as the AGD's executive director, since 1974. At that time, the organization had approximately 10,000 members, a staff of nine and a budget of $565,000. Under his guidance, the AGD has grown into a 36,000-member association that employs 80 full-time staff, and an organization that manages a budget of $11.3 million. He will retire on December 31, 2003. Gerald "Jay" Donohue, Jr., CAE, CMP, will become the new AGD executive director starting January 1, 2004.

"Hal possesses the qualities of an extraordinary leader who has advanced the prominence of the AGD through professional growth and the development of continuing education studies," praises John D. Chandler, DDS, MAGD and president of the AGD. "Hal is widely respected by leaders and members within the dental community and other dental organizations, he has made an impact in the profession of general dentistry through his depth of knowledge, reservoir of history, leadership qualities and by maintaining the integrity of the AGD."

During his 30 years as executive director of the AGD, Donnell has experienced challenges and progress. "My biggest challenge was to build a floundering organization into one that gained the respect of the dental profession and the public through its emphasis on keeping general dentists up to date with their ever changing profession." says Donnell.

Donnell's dedication to the AGD is obvious through the many awards bestowed upon him during the past years, most recently the 2003 William Thomas Green Morton National Award for the Advancement of General Dentistry laureate and 2003 Albert Borish Award, the highest award given by the AGD.

Donnell was named honorary member of the Academy in 1982 for his leadership in improving continuing dental education, and he received an honorary Fellowship in 1993 for his contributions to the art and science of dentistry, and for enhancing Academy principles and ideals.

"Seeing the Academy's viewpoint prevail with dental organizations, gaining better recognition with the media and public and witnessing dentists taking pride in dental achievements are major parts of the Academy's progress," says Donnell.

Donnell's experience within the field of dentistry began at the Maryland State Dental Association where he served as the chief paid executive from 1966 to 1974. During that time, Donnell served as president of the Maryland Society of Association Executives from 1971 to 1972, and earned the title of Certified Association Executive in 1973.

Donnell received a bachelor's degree in Economics from Amherst College in Amherst, MA in 1957. After that, he served in the U.S. Army and attended the Finance School at Fort Benjamin Harrison.
Donnell has been married for 44 years to the former Rosemary Gatch and has two children, David and Laurie. Both siblings are married and live in Colorado. In addition, he has four grandchildren.

The Academy of General Dentistry is a not-for-profit organization of more than 37,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up-to-date in the profession through continuing education. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of services related to patient's oral health needs.