McClanahan receives IB Bender Lifetime Educator Award

Photo of Scott McClanahan surrounded by three dogs

Scott McClanahan, DDS, MS, professor emeritus of endodontics at the School of Dentistry, is the 2023 recipient of the IB Bender Lifetime Educator Award from the American Association of Endodontists.

The Bender Award “acknowledges a member whose contributions to endodontics in the field of education have demonstrated excellence through selfless commitment to full-time educational pursuits, and whose valuable contributions have instilled in his or her students the desire to pursue excellence in their careers,” according to the American Association of Endodontists.

McClanahan earned his DDS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1981 and served in the United States Navy for twenty-five years. During his time in the Navy, McClanahan worked as a general dentist for six years and then received his Certificate of Residency in Endodontics from the Northwestern University School of Dentistry (NUDS) and MS degree from Northwestern University in 1981.

The decision to pursue endodontics as a specialty was made easy by his early mentor, Jeff Hutter, DMD, Dean Emeritus of Boston University. “Jeff is essentially the reason I am an endodontist,” McClanahan said. His Program Director at NUDS was Edward Osetek, DDS, an ex-Navy endodontist, who was a luminary in endodontic education.  Thus, the foundation was laid for a career in education.

McClahanan joined the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 2005, serving as the Director of the Division of Endodontics and the Director of the Graduate Program in Endodontics.

For McClanahan, the best part of his time at the School of Dentistry was his graduate students. “I signed 72 certificates of residency between my time at the University of Minnesota and and the Naval Postgraduate Dental School, so in addition to my son, I consider myself to have 72 kids,” he reflected. “Watching them grow and develop, seeing our kids attain significant accomplishments, is hugely rewarding.”

After seeing the Division of Endodontics through the transition to online didactic learning due to COVID, McClanahan retired from the School of Dentistry in the fall of 2020.  He has remained busy – and committed to the school.  He has continued to offer guest lectures and work with Director of the Division of Endodontics Craig Noblett, DDS, MS. He also consults with the US Navy’s endodontics program in Bethesda, Maryland.

It’s no surprise that McClanahan stays so busy, given his commitment to lifelong learning. “I always told my graduate students that your learning doesn’t stop when you receive your certificate,” he said. “Your success in a demanding specialty requires you to attend continuing education, stay up to date on journals and commit to learning. The day you receive your certificate is just the beginning of your journey.”

McClanahan’s journey has consisted of hard work and dedication, and the IB Bender Award reflects that.

The IB Bender Lifetime Educator Award was created to recognize an exemplary educator who has devoted a significant amount of, if not their entire career, to education,” said Craig Noblett, DDS, MS, director of the Division of Endodontics and one of McClanahan’s nominators. “Dr. Scott McClanahan is a most worthy recipient of this award given his career-long dedication to the education of Endodontic residents. I am happy I could play a small part in making sure that he is properly recognized.”

Today, McClanahan lives in Virginia with his wife, Deborah Johnson, DDS, clinical professor ad honorem of periodontology at the School of Dentistry, and their three dogs. He will be presented with the award at a ceremony held by the American Association of Endodontists in May 2023.