VCU Dedicates Third Dental School Building

Named for VCU alumnus and former Rector W. Baxter Perkinson, Jr.

Perkinson Building
Perkinson Building

Virginia Commonwealth University today dedicated a $20 million addition to the VCU School of Dentistry, Virginia’s only dental school. The new building is named in honor of alumnus and former Board of Visitors Rector W. Baxter Perkinson, Jr., D.D.S.

The four-story, 55,000 square-foot structure connects the existing School of Dentistry’s Wood and Lyons buildings and enables the school to increase student enrollment in dentistry and dental hygiene, to expand research and to improve patient access to care.

“This new building represents the renaissance at the VCU Medical Center – modernizing our educational, research and clinical facilities, and along with that, expanding and improving our academic, research and clinical programs,” said VCU President Eugene P. Trani. “State-of-the-art education will be offered here, as well as interdisciplinary and translational research and high-quality patient care.”

W. Baxter Perkinson, Jr., D.D.S.
W. Baxter Perkinson, Jr., D.D.S.

The new facility includes dental and periodontics clinics and an off-street drop off and pick up area for patients. The addition enables the School of Dentistry to increase enrollment in its DDS program from 90 to 100 students and in the dental hygiene program from 20 to 40 students annually. The new building also increases the school’s laboratory space for the Philips Institute of Oral and Craniofacial Molecular Biology.

“The Perkinson Building will have a significant impact on VCU’s research program, with new space for head and neck cancer research as well as tissue bioengineering,” said Dr. Sheldon M. Retchin, vice president for VCU Health Sciences. “Researchers in the Philips Institute will work in collaboration with faculty at the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the School of Engineering.”

Studies increasingly demonstrate the link between oral health and overall systemic health. VCU School of Dentistry Dean Ron Hunt said that the increased space, clinics and classrooms mean that more dentists and dental hygienists can be educated – providing better access to dental care for all Virginians.

“The VCU School of Dentistry's mission has always been about meeting the oral health care needs of Virginians,” Hunt said. “The learning, patient care and scientific discovery that will take place within the walls of this new building will continue to bring that mission to life, inspiring future generations of dental professionals.”

VCU officials commended Perkinson and his family for their ongoing support of the university and the School of Dentistry. Perkinson, a 1970 graduate of the VCU School of Dentistry, is founder of Virginia’s largest dental practice. He recently retired as an adjunct faculty member of the school, a position he held since he graduated.  He also serves as a member of the VCU Health System Authority board of directors.

“Because of this building, we’re leading twenty-first century dentistry with state-of-the-art facilities and outstanding faculty,” Perkinson said.

Perkinson has received numerous honors from VCU, including the Presidential medallion, the MCV Dental Faculty Award and the School of Dentistry Medallion.  He also received the American Dental Association’s first-ever Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Leadership in Mentoring.

The VCU School of Dentistry offers programs in dentistry and dental hygiene, as well as graduate programs in advanced general dentistry, endodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, oral surgery and orthodontics.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.