The largest-ever alumni gift to NYUCD, $5 million, will create the George and Ann Witkin Graduate Center for Clinical Excellence.
Dr. Witkin, a 1942 graduate of NYUCD, was associated with the College for over 30 years, as a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Periodontology, Associate Dean and Interim Dean. He retired in 1978.
“The George and Ann Witkin Graduate Center for Clinical Excellence,” said Dean Alfano, “launches a new model for specialty training and care. It will enable a highly-networked community of postgraduate programs to provide both state-of-the-art specialty training and advanced care for patients with challenging needs. Indeed, we will soon begin construction on the first phase of the facility, which will include one floor dedicated to periodontology and implant dentistry connected by an internal glass elevator to the floor above that will focus on prosthodontic care. But, more important than the wonderful new facility, will be the practice
and teaching model by which prosthodontists, periodontists, implant dentists and oral surgeons will collaborate in the treatment of patients and the teaching of students. On behalf of the entire NYUCD community, I want to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to George and Ann for their unprecedented gift, which empowers us to begin this exciting new approach to postgraduate education.”
According to Dr. Stuart M. Hirsch, Associate Dean for International Affairs and Development, who worked with the Witkins to help shape the gift to meet their desires, “This amazing act of philanthropy represents the profound love and respect that George and Ann Witkin have for one another; their desire to support Mike Alfano’s leadership
and vision for the College; and
their extraordinary generosity and commitment to the future of postgraduate education and patient care at NYUCD.”
The gift also marks the Witkins’ 25th wedding anniversary. “I know what NYUCD means to George,” says Mrs. Witkin, “and I know what George means to me. This is our gift to the College. Hopefully, it will inspire others to make similar gifts.”
When they started to think about making a gift, Dr. and Mrs. Witkin
called their good friend and Dr. Witkin’s classmate, Dr.
Abe Reiner, who had attended a class reunion at NYUCD and had told
them about the impressive physical and cultural changes he had
seen. The Witkins then called Dean Alfano and asked to meet so that they could see the changes for themselves.
After Dean Alfano outlined his plans to make NYUCD the dental school in the world with the greatest impact on the health of society, the Witkins decided that they wanted to do something to accelerate NYUCD’s ability to achieve that goal.
Dr. Witkin says that he has long believed in the importance of nurturing students, but that both as
a student and a teacher, he saw too little of it. “When I visited the College recently,” he says, “I was extremely impressed with the changes I saw in the quality of student-faculty relationships, and with the care being given to students, thanks to Dean Alfano’s leadership. So when he told me about the environment he wanted to create for specialty education and care, and about the kind of collaboration that would guide the enterprise, I knew that making a naming gift was the right thing for Ann and me to do. In truth, after what we saw and what we learned of his plans for the future, we could hardly do otherwise.”
At approximately 50,000 square feet, the George and Ann Witkin Graduate Center for Clinical Excellence ultimately will consist of five full floors dedicated to specialty training and patient care in periodontology and implant dentistry, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics and pediatric dentistry. The Witkin Center will have the look and feel of the finest specialty practices in Manhattan. Patients will arrive through a separate entrance and will take an elevator maintained exclusively for their use. Faculty and residents from all disciplines will work side by side on diagnosis, planning and treatment procedures, always with a critical focus on quality patient care.
“The Witkin Center will be driven by a philosophy of interaction and collaboration among the specialties,” says Dean Alfano, “because we believe that a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach will promote the finest patient care and speed the transfer of new knowledge from generation to generation. Our appreciation for what George and Ann Witkin have done is boundless. They believe that New York University College of Dentistry can set the standard for specialty training and care, and we will not disappoint them.”