Gary Anderson retires, leaving a legacy of service

Gary Anderson speaks with other faculty members

The School of Dentistry celebrated the retirement of Gary Anderson, DDS, MS, with a reception and the institution of a new scholarship.

Anderson and his family listen to speeches

Anderson spent more than 40 years in service at the School of Dentistry, holding titles including dean, senior associate dean, department chair, clinic director, instructor, researcher and clinician. His impact throughout the school can be seen across departments and floors of Moos Tower. He has directed, co-directed or lectured in many TMD and orofacial pain, occlusion, craniofacial, evidence-based dentistry, and prosthodontic courses at the pre-doctoral, graduate and postgraduate levels, and has mentored or served as a thesis advisor for multiple students. His research has resulted in more than 40 publications and 35 abstracts, along with more than ten grants, all focused on TMD and orofacial pain.

Brent Larson addresses the audience

In honor of his retirement, members of the school community gathered to celebrate Anderson with a reception on Monday, October 16. Loved ones and former colleagues shared their stories of Anderson and his impact on their lives.

“Gary learned, not to get the grade, but for the love of learning,” reflected Brent Larson, DDS, MS, professor of orthodontics and classmate of Anderson’s.

“When Gary left his position as dean, he imparted valuable lessons, both applicable to my professional life and personal life,” reflected Maureen Lovestrand, chief of staff. “Perhaps one of the most significant is how to have both a vibrant family and professional life, and that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

Attendees applaud Anderson

During the event, Dean Keith Mays, DDS, MDS, PhD, announced the creation of the Dr. Gary Anderson Legacy and Leadership Scholarship,

“Every dean knows how important scholarships are, and Gary was no exception,” he said. “He once said that if anything kept him up at night, tuition costs were among the top of the list.”

During his time as dean, Anderson led the Driven. Campaign, which raised $6.24 million in support of students, created 31 new scholarships and awarded $3.2 million in scholarship support. Because of his great leadership and his devotion to our students, the school chose to honor Anderson with a scholarship fund that would continue his legacy and provide opportunities for the next generation of oral health professionals.

Dean Mays speaks at a podium

“Gay’s leadership and work while dean have truly shaped our scholarship fundraising efforts,” said Emily Best, Chief Development Officer for the school. “There is no better tribute to his legacy and leadership than such a scholarship.”

The scholarship was established by those who have been impacted by Anderson, including current faculty, classmates and champions of the school. Additional donations are welcome and can be made in Gary's honor online at or by contacting the Office of Development ([email protected] or 612-625-5751). 

Join us in congratulating Anderson on his retirement and thanking him for his many years of tireless service to the School of Dentistry.

Anderson is embraced by another staff member