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Challenge in memory of pioneering orthodontist boosts student research at WVU School of Dentistry

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Students at the WVU School of Dentistry will benefit from a philanthropic challenge aimed at expanding research opportunities. (WVU Photo)

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Students at the West Virginia University School of Dentistry will have the opportunity to conduct research that will enhance both their academic and professional careers through a philanthropic challenge in memory of pioneering West Virginia orthodontist Dr. William M. Jarrett.

An alumnus who wishes to remain anonymous will match all gifts up to $100,000 – for a total of $200,000 – to support the William M. Jarrett Endowment for Student Research through Dec. 31. The endowment supports research activities by pre- and post-doctoral dental students at WVU. 

The challenge to boost student research funding builds upon Jarrett’s legacy as a collaborative leader in oral health care within the Mountain State. He began his practice in 1929, carrying on a family tradition of dental service that dates to 1901 and continues today. Jarrett was West Virginia’s first board-certified orthodontist, and he held leadership roles with several professional organizations, including the Southern Association of Orthodontists, the American Association of Orthodontists and the Kanawha Valley Dental Society. The International College of Dentists honored his contributions by establishing the endowment in his memory.

Jarrett also mentored many colleagues within the profession – including many alumni of WVU, which established the state’s only dental school in 1957. His efforts to advance the field of dentistry continue via his namesake research fund. Dr. Stephen Pachuta, dean of the School of Dentistry, noted that research is an integral part of the educational experience at WVU.

“It is important for predoctoral and postdoctoral students to have an opportunity to participate in research,” Pachuta said. “Conducting research and authoring a study significantly contributes to the critical thought processes of students as they evaluate and apply current literature.

“This incredibly generous offer to match contributions to support the William M. Jarrett Endowment for Student Research provides a wonderful opportunity to expand student research opportunities at the School of Dentistry and aligns with WVU’s mission as a land-grant university to advance high-impact research to our West Virginia families.”  

Dr. Bailey Hollihan, a 2021 School of Dentistry graduate, benefited from the endowment as a student at WVU. During her second year of dental school, Hollihan published research focused on the internet’s role in improving oral health literacy in the United States. She later presented her findings at the Academy of General Dentistry Conference in 2019. 

“Student research can broaden personal, academic and career interests,” Hollihan said. “Without my own personal desire to learn more and spread awareness on the subject, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to accomplish some of my most proud moments. Receiving the endowment changed everything. I felt so thankful and appreciative.”

The fundraising challenge in memory of Jarrett coincides with the 50th anniversary of WVU’s Department of Orthodontics. WVU will mark the occasion with a day-long continuing education course, reception and dinner slated Sept. 10.

To contribute to the William M. Jarrett Endowment for Student Research, visit and specify fund number 3R052 as the designation for your gift. Interested donors can also contact Karen Coombs, director of development for the School of Dentistry, at or 304-216-3784.

All gifts are made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.




CONTACT: Cassie Rice
Communications Specialist
WVU Foundation

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