LOS ANGELES, CA, USA: The Shapiro Family Charitable Foundation in the US has made a US$1 million pledge to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Dentistry for the establishment of the Dr No-Hee Park Endowed Chair in Dentistry, to honour the School’s dean and foster excellence in research and scholarship in biomedical and dental science. The endowed professorship, which is intended to support the teaching and research activities of a distinguished faculty member at the School of Dentistry, will be held by the chair of the School’s division of Oral Biology and Medicine.
The Park Chair is the latest gift to UCLA from Ralph and Shirley Shapiro, UCLA alumni with a long history of generous service and philanthropy to the campus, as well as to charitable organisations throughout Los Angeles and the United States.
“Dr No-Hee Park has made significant advances in our understanding of cancer biology, and for ten years, he has provided exemplary service as Dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry,” said Ralph Shapiro. “My wife, Shirley, and I agree that the best way to honour his contributions is to support, in a lasting manner, the scholarship of another outstanding faculty member leading the field of dental medicine research”.
Korean-born Dr Park received his DDS Degree from Seoul National University in 1968 and joined the faculty of the UCLA School of Dentistry in 1984. There, he served as the Director of the Dental Research Institute and Associate Dean for Research. Named Dean of the School in 1998, he was appointed for a third term in 2006 and is the longest-serving dean in the School’s history.
Under Dr Park’s leadership, the School has emerged as a research-intensive institution, which currently ranks fifth among US dental schools in funding by the National Institutes of Health. During the past ten years, Park eliminated a deficit, stabilised student clinic operations, and increased the School’s budget from US$35 million in fiscal year 1998 to US$65 million in fiscal year 2007. His successful fundraising efforts have yielded numerous renovations, six endowed chairs for the recruitment and retention of world-class faculty members, and more than US$17 million in endowed funds. In autumn 2008, Park’s administration implemented a new DDS curriculum designed to improve the integration of basic and clinical sciences and to promote student leadership.
In addition to serving in an administrative capacity, Park is a world-renowned scientist in the area of oral and head and neck cancer research and is credited with more than 150 publications in distinguished scientific journals. He has trained more than 100 research students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting faculty members during the past 25 years, many of whom are now faculty members of dental schools, medical schools, and colleges of life sciences in the US, Europe, and Asia.
The Dr No-Hee Park Endowed Chair in Dentistry, the seventh endowed professorship for the School, is part of a ten-year campaign to increase the School’s endowment by US$30 million, to ensure its continued financial stability and success.
(Edited by Claudia Salwiczek)