The Ostrow School of Dentistry is launching a fundraising campaign to raise $115 million over the next seven years.
The initiative launch is in conjunction with the school’s 115th anniversary and is one of the largest fundraising endeavors of a dental institution in the U.S. The fundraiser is also part of the comprehensive Campaign for USC, a fundraising drive seeking to raise $6 billion for the university.
The school plans to use the money to fund scholarships, recruit and retain faculty, build facilities and care for patients.
Calen Ouellette, director of development and alumni relations for Ostrow, said the fundraising initiative will focus on articulating these goals to the public.
“There’s a strong communication component to [the campaign] where we’re making sure our alumni and friends know what’s happening within the school and know what our objectives are,” Oullette said.
The funds will mainly be used to provide student scholarships, Ouellette said.
“We want to make sure we’re able to recruit students, to keep students and to reward or recognize students with our scholarships if they’ve done a great job,” Ouellette said. “We want them to go out into the profession, make an impact, and one of the last concerns they should have is how they are going to pay back the school.”
In addition, the money raised from the campaign will seek to increase the number of faculty members and improve facilities, said Beth Dunham, an editor in the Ostrow Office of Public Relations.
“Endowed faculty support [means] recruiting and retaining faculty as well as bringing in new experts,” Dunham said. “Better use of clinical space, better learning spaces for our students, better research bases and more — it’s all really important for supporting student education as well as our research initiatives.”
The fundraising campaign will seek to develop patient care in order for graduates to be strongly prepared for their future careers, Ouellette said. In the past 10 years, students and faculty have treated more than 650,000 patients.
“For us to be able to give access to care to those patients is an important aspect of our mission as a school,” Ouellette said. “The students need to work with the patients as well because the more diverse patients they work with [and] the more different cases they have, the better equipped they are to be better practitioners when they go out.”
Dunham said all efforts of the campaign ultimately showcase the school’s dedication in providing the best education for its students. She said maintaining a high standard in technology and research and attracting quality faculty ultimately helps students learn.
“It’s access to that faculty that can really make a student’s education special,” Dunham said. “It all comes together in terms of our fundraising goals — scholarships, faculty and facilities — because they all come back to students and making sure that their education is the best possible they can get.”
As well as reflecting on the school’s prominence in the dental field, the initiative will also ensure the continued readiness of its students to lead the industry, Ouellette said.
“Moving forward, dentistry has the opportunity to lead the effort in preventative medicine and adjust to the demands of society,” Ouellette said. “I hope the next century of our reign [as a] dental school is making sure that we’re producing the best students and that they’re making the biggest impact in the industry.”