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Dr. Polverini receives UM Distinguished Professor honor

May 29, 2015

By Kimber Solana

Dr. Peter Polverini
Dr. Polverini
Ann Arbor, Mich.
— Dr. Peter Polverini, professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology at the University of Michigan, became the first from the School of Dentistry to receive the university’s top honor of Distinguished Professor.

The UM’s Jonathan Taft Distinguished University Professorship, created in 1947, recognizes exceptional scholarly and/or creative achievements, national and international reputation, superior teaching and mentoring and record of service.

“This professorship is a ‘validation of a life-long commitment to excellence in teaching, discovery science and patient care,’” Dr. Polverini said. “This pretty much sums up what this honor means to me.”

In their nomination letter, Dr. Laurie McCauley, UM dental school dean, and Dr. Paul Krebsbach, chair of the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences, noted that Dr. Polverini is “a remarkable mentor and visionary who has fostered leadership development, community and global outreach, and innovative and biomedically-integrated dental education.”

Dr. Polverini served as dean of the dental school from 2003-13. His appointment as Distinguished Professor is effective Sept. 1.

Drs. McCauley and Krebsbach said Dr. Polverini’s leadership resulted in “extensive curriculum redesign” and created more opportunities at the school of dentistry. For example, the curriculum now allows students to engage in team-based learning and patient care and explore pathways of their choosing to enhance their education and career goals.

“Education at the school of dentistry at the University of Michigan has been largely reborn during the last five years,” said Drs. McCauley and Krebsbach.

Each distinguished professorship bears a special name that is determined by the appointed professor in consultation with his or her dean.

Dr. Polverini’s professorship is named after Dr. Jonathan Taft, the university’s first dental school dean in 1875.