Harry Sharp, DDS, was greeted with a standing ovation November 20th as he walked into the student lounge of the UTHSC College of Dentistry. He was also struck by surprise.
“I didn’t have a clue,” Dr. Sharp said. “You talk about a shocker; I was not prepared for this.”
The applause was to honor Dr. Sharp, professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Community Oral Health, for his more than 40 years of service, mentorship, and contributions to the College of Dentistry.
College of Dentistry Dean James Ragain, Jr., DDS, PhD, read from a letter by Chancellor Steve Schwab, MD, awarding Dr. Sharp the title of Professor Emeritus in the college.
“Everybody knows and loves Harry,” said Larry Dormois, DDS, MS, chair and associate professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Community Oral Health. “Harry is not leaving, but he is retiring from clinical practice. We didn’t want to let him slip out without telling him how much we love him and how much he’s meant in each of our lives and our training.”
A proclamation was read from the Tennessee House of Representatives declaring November 20, 2019, Dr. Harry Sharp Day.
The letter recognized Dr. Sharp’s many accomplishments including his honorable service in the U.S. Army National Guard, being named outstanding soldier on three occasions.
As well as his many appointments over the years including at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital, Maury Regional Medical Center, and the Veterans Administration Hospital.
Dr. Sharp joined the faculty in the College of Dentistry in 1979 and has been credited with educating thousands of students, including 160 pediatric dentistry residents. He has received countless honors for excellence in education, research, and public service, including the UT National Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award and the UTHSC College of Dentistry Distinguished Faculty Award.
Students, residents, staff, and faculty, including College of Dentistry Dean Ragain, shared stories about working with Dr. Sharp.
“My first pedo patient in the school was my son,” said Dr. Ragain, who is a 1984 alumnus of the college. “I was so happy I worked with Dr. Sharp. I remember him working with me and his was so patient. There are thousands who have been educated by Dr. Sharp. Your impact lives on.”
The college presented Dr. Sharp, an alumnus of the University of Alabama and a lifelong fan of University of Alabama athletics, with a gift that would make any Roll Tide fan envious. It included a personal letter from Nick Saban, head football coach at the University of Alabama, and many autographed items.
“I thank you from the bottom, middle, and top of my heart,” Dr. Sharp said. “It’s been wonderful and it’s been my good fortune to get to work with some good people over these years. I will never forget you, ever.”