Penn Orthodontics Celebrates 100th Anniversary


Dr. Chun-Hsi Chung, Chair, Department of Orthodontics, greeting the 240 attendees celebrating the Department’s 100th Anniversary.

Philadelphia – The Penn Dental Medicine Department of Orthodontics celebrated its 100th Anniversary at this year’s annual Ortho Alumni Day, held October 28 the Union League of Philadelphia. The event drew approximately 240 alumni, students, faculty, and staff.

“Penn orthodontics has always been a leader in clinical excellence as a result of its strong faculty and excellent students, and it was especially rewarding to bring alumni, students, and faculty together to celebrate the Department’s great history in this centennial year ,” says Dr. Chun-Hsi Chung (D’88, GD’92), the Chauncey M.F. Egel Endowed Chair of Orthodontics.

Formally established in 1916 under the leadership of Dr. John Mershon, the Department has been led by eight Chairmen over the past century, three of whom graduated from Penn Dental Medicine, including Dr. Chung, Dr. Robert Vanarsdall (GD’72, GD’73), and Dr. James Ackerman (D’60). And, all three were part of this centennial celebration.

The Alumni Day program paid tribute to the legacy of leadership the Department’s faculty, students, and alumni have achieved. Along with a continuing education program presented by guest speakers Dr. Raymond Fonseca and Dr. Timothy Turvey, the program featured remarks by Dr. Chung; Dr. Ackerman, the fifth chair of the Department; Dr. Peter Greco (D’79, GD’84), Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Orthodontic Clinic; and Dr. Dana Graves, Vice Dean for Research & Scholarship at Penn Dental Medicine.

A special tribute was also given to Drs. Ackerman and Vanarsdall – recognizing their many contributions to the Department. Dr. Ackerman led the Department as Chair from 1968 through 1978. And Dr. Vanarsdall has been a member of the faculty for 44 of the Department’s 100-year history, leading the formation of the dual Orthodontics/Periodontics postdoctoral program in 1975 (still the only ADA-approved program of its kind). He served as Chair from 1982 through 2011 and Director of the Postdoctoral Orthodontics Program from 1981 to 2010 and remains Professor and Director of the Orthodontics/Periodontics postdoctoral program.

In addition, long-time faculty member Dr. Jerome Sklaroff, Clinical Professor of Orthodontics, was recognized for his 64 years on the orthodontics faculty.

And looking to the future, Maren Gaughan, Associate Dean for Leadership Giving, reported on the Penn Ortho Centennial Campaign, a $1 million fundraising campaign undertaken in this anniversary year to support an expansion of the School’s orthodontic clinic, resident scholarships, and an opportunity fund for research and scholarship. To date $925,000 of the $1 million goal has been raised. To learn more, visit

This year’s Ortho Alumni Day was the final day in Penn Week of Orthodontics 2016, a five- day continuing education symposium on the state of the art in current orthodontics.

“This was a great week of exchange with colleagues from across the country and around the world,” adds Dr. Chung. “I want to continue to push our Department to the highest level it can be .”

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