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Dr. Yale, credited for 1972 UIC dental building, dies at 87

The dean responsible for securing the federal funds that led to the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry's current facility has died.

Dr. Seymour H. Yale, age 87, died in Chicago Aug. 28. In 1972, the UIC College of Dentistry constructed the new dental school building, which Dr. Yale also helped design during his tenure as dean from 1965-87.

"Our building is one of the largest and sturdiest dental schools in the country, and that is thanks to the foresight, planning and hard work of Dr. Seymour Yale," said Dr. Bruce Graham, dean of the UIC College of Dentistry.

When the new building opened, Dr. Yale said "expanded community service, intensification of research, and above all, implementation of the most promising teaching methods in dentistry are the rewards which will accrue to the people of Illinois for this major investment in the future."

"Dean Yale's vision of the future of clinical education, as reflected in our building's design, was remarkably prescient," said Dr. Graham. "In 1972, the group practice design of the clinical education facilities was unique in dental education, and it later provided the physical foundation for the college's recent clinical education innovations, which we implemented, beginning in 2002, 30 years later."

Dr. Yale earned his dental degree from UIC in 1945. He began to practice dentistry in Chicago that same year, and would continue practicing well into his 80s as he served as dental director of Dental Care Plus Management Corp.

He became a UIC faculty member in 1948 with appointments in clinical dentistry and the department of radiology. In 1957, he was named department head of radiology. He became assistant to the dean in 1961, assistant dean in 1963, acting dean in 1964, and was appointed dean of UIC in 1965. From his retirement in 1987 until his death last month, he held the title of professor emeritus.

Dr. Yale was also director of training at the Dental Technicians School at the U.S. Naval Training Center in Bainbridge, Md., from 1954-56; a member of the Radiation Protection Advisory Board for the State of Illinois in the 1970s; a faculty member in UIC's College of Medicine and School of Public Health, and Northeastern Illinois University's Center for Exercise Science and Cardiovascular Research; and contributor to the National Commission on Radiation Protection.

Dr. Yale earned the Centennial Research Award from the Chicago Dental Society in 1959, Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois in 1973, the Odontographic Society of Chicago Award of Merit in 1982, the Harry Sicher Memorial Lecture Award from the American College of Stomatologic Surgeons in 1983, the Loyalty Award from the UI in 1988, and the Man of the Year Award from the Illinois Section of the Pierre Fauchard Academy in 1988.

An avid collector of antiquities, Dr. Yale's rare finds are now part of his legacy at the Spurlock Museum on the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus. He and his wife Muriel (who died in 1995) collected coins, maps and books from the Middle East and the Ottoman Empire.

"He acquired his collection during his travels on behalf of the UIC College of Dentistry while he was a faculty, administrator and dean," added Dr. Graham.

"From 1971-98, Seymour and Muriel Yale donated almost 5,000 objects to the Spurlock Museum," said Kim Sheahan, the museum's assistant director of education. "The collection contains maps, coins from the Ottoman Empire and other materials from Europe and Asia dating from 1000 to the present."

Dr. Yale is survived by a daughter; Patricia Ruth Yale Shapiro; son Russell S. Yale, M.D.; and four grandchildren. Funeral services were held Sept. 2 at Shalom Memorial Park in Arlington Heights, Ill.