Penn Dental Medicine Receives $10 Million Gift from Alumnus Robert I. Schattner, DDS


Philadelphia — Penn Dental Medicine has just received the largest gift from a living alumnus, a $10 million gift – from Robert I. Schattner, DDS, of Bethesda, Md., a member of the class of 1948. This gift will fund the renovation of the School’s Main Clinic and expansion of its iconic Schattner Center to create a dramatic new meeting and reception space. The gift comes as the School celebrates the centennial anniversary of its Evans Building and represents the final phase in a ten-year ‘renaissance’ plan.

This is the second major gift from Dr. Schattner. In 1997, he and his late wife, Kay, contributed $5.5 million for the construction of the School’s Robert Schattner Center and surrounding gardens. The Center, dedicated in 2002, is home to several clinics and the Penn Dental Medicine Family Practice at Locust Walk. The Schattner Center constitutes the main entrance to the dental school, forming a unified Penn Dental Medicine campus by linking to the School’s other two buildings – the Thomas Evans Building and Leon Levy Center for Oral Health Research

“Dr. Schattner has so very generously stepped up to the plate once again in support of the health-promoting work of Penn Dental Medicine,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann, “and it is all the more heart-warming because he is a proud alumnus. No one better understands the vital work of this hallowed school than someone who has been such a valued and respected member of the Penn Dental Medicine family for almost 70 years. His generosity will be transformative and forever honored and remembered.”

Located within the School’s historic Thomas Evans Building, the Main Clinic is the 11,520-square-foot clinical space that has been the hub of DMD clinical instruction and patient care since its construction in 1915.

“The Main Clinic has clinically educated thousands of students, and is the centerpiece of the Evans Building. Students spend some of their most critical professional training hours in this space,” says Dr. Denis Kinane, Morton Amsterdam Dean of Penn Dental Medicine. “Dr. Schattner’s vision of the importance of this facility will have a lasting impact for our students and the School overall.”

Plans for what will be named the Robert I. Schattner Clinic involve a complete updating of the entire space for an improved student and patient experience. The main improvements will include all new equipment and operatories in an individual bay design, new flooring and lighting, enhanced radiographic capabilities, and the restoration of the grand wall of original, historic windows that line the north side of the clinic.

In addition to funding the Main Clinic improvements, Dr. Schattner’s latest gift will create a new indoor pavilion, built adjacent to the existing atrium of the Schattner Center and enclosing a courtyard area behind it to create a dynamic new indoor space for public gatherings and interaction.

“Few alumni have had as great an impact on Penn Dental Medicine as Dr. Robert Schattner,” says Dean Kinane. “His career exemplifies the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of our earliest benefactor, Dr. Thomas Evans. And, Dr. Schattner’s continual commitment and warm personality are an inspiration to me and others at Penn Dental Medicine.”

Dr. Schattner is the inventor of the world renowned Chloraseptic, the sore-throat anesthetic/mouthwash, and the hospital disinfectant Sporicidin. He holds 70 patents and trademarks in addition to his 10 years in private practice in the New York area. Active within Penn Dental Medicine for many years, he has served on the School’s Board of Overseers since 2002.

“I can attribute my success to a combination of serendipity, luck, and perseverance,” says Dr. Schattner.

“With this gift,” says Dean Kinane, “Dr. Schattner will not only expand his legacy, and Kay’s, at Penn Dental Medicine, he will improve the educational experience of generations of future students of our School.”