Women’s History Month and Remembering Dr. Anna Hampel | A Message from the Dean

Dr. Anna Hampel and Dean Keith Mays pose for a photo

At the end of our summer donor event last July, I was approached by a donor who took the opportunity to remind me of something; it was a good reminder. The donor was Dr. Anna Hampel. I had never met her in person, but took the opportunity to ask for a photo with the legend. This past February I was visiting with a donor and he shared a story of how he thought the world of Dr. Hampel, who was the faculty member covering one his first clinical experiences as a dental student. He described her as a faculty member who educated students with grace, gentle ease, corrective actions, and—of course—knowledge and understanding.

Dr. Hampel passed away in January. and we honor her legacy this Women’s History Month. Her story is truly remarkable and fully captured by friend Dr. David Born in our 2019 Dentistry Magazine. During World War II she started, stopped, and restarted her education at multiple European dental schools. While working as a dental assistant on a military base, her skills grew, and as dentists saw her potential, they gave her opportunities to increase her skills. It was then she met her husband and immigrated to Minnesota. She started teaching in 1956 at the School of Dentistry and taught in the Dental, Dental Hygiene, and Dental Assistant programs.

During her time as a faculty member, she made significant contributions to our School, such as securing sufficient patients for clinical care, teaching courses, and advocating for comprehensive dental care. She mentored women and encouraged them to consider dentistry as a profession. She was a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and the International College of Dentists. In 1985, she was recognized as the Century Club Professor of the Year. As I look at several photos of Dr. Hampel throughout her career, it is clear she was the lone woman among men. She certainly was a trailblazer.

This Women’s History Month, I acknowledge Dr. Anna Hampel’s extraordinary career and life, and her legacy,  which has positively impacted many lives.