The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees approved a request from UT Health Science Center to name the new dental building under construction on the Memphis campus, the Delta Dental of Tennessee Building.
During its fall meeting, which was held virtually, the board also approved naming the entire grounds of the College of Dentistry, located at 875 Union Avenue, the Delta Dental of Tennessee Oral Health Complex. The complex includes the existing Dunn Dental Building, which continues in use, and the new building, as well as clinics, and support structures.
The designations honor the outstanding support of Delta Dental of Tennessee and its President and Chief Executive Officer Philip Wenk, DDS. Dr. Wenk is a 1973 graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a 1977 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry. He is the chair of the University of Tennessee Foundation Board of Trustees, and he also chairs the UTHSC Advisory Board.
Dr. Wenk received an Outstanding Alumnus Award from the UTHSC College of Dentistry Alumni Association in 2016 and was selected from more than 370,000 alumni as one of the University of Tennessee’s “Top 100 Distinguished Alumni” by Tennessee Alumnus, the University of Tennessee System’s alumni magazine.
“As CEO, Phil is a strong advocate for the College of Dentistry,” UTHSC Chancellor Steve Schwab, MD, wrote in a letter to UT President Randy Boyd in making the naming recommendation.
Delta Dental of Tennessee is the largest donor to the UTHSC College of Dentistry. Since 1997, Delta Dental of Tennessee has provided financial support to the college totaling more than $16,500,000, including $6.3 million for construction costs toward the more than $45 million new building, and $1.4 million in equipment.
The new building will wrap the Dunn Dental Building on the north (facing Union Avenue) and west (facing Dunlap Street). It will house a special needs clinic, a faculty practice, and dental technique laboratories for first- and second-year students.
Projects and initiatives at UTHSC that have benefited from the support of Delta Dental include the Delta Dental of Tennessee Endowed Scholarship, equipment in dental labs, the annual College of Dentistry Scholarship Dinner, and the annual Slagle Dental Meeting. Delta Dental of Tennessee has also provided expert advice on strategic matters, speakers to address alumni and students, and fundraising leadership to complete the Dunn Dental Building.