Public Relations  >  News Center  >  News Releases  >  July 2018  >  July 10, 2018  >  Boyne Voyage: Faculty, staff, students, alumni bid farewell to School of Dentistry's home for the last 45 years
Boyne Voyage: Faculty, staff, students, alumni bid farewell to School of Dentistry's home for the last 45 years

It was just before 1 p.m. on Friday, July 6, and the final regular clinic patient to ever sit in a dental examination chair at the Harry N. and Maude Boyne Building had just walked out the doors.

For 45 years, the Creighton University School of Dentistry and its associated clinics have occupied Boyne. July 6 began the closing of one chapter and, eight weeks from now, a new one will open, in the brilliant brick and glass of the dental school’s new building, five blocks east on Burt Street.

But for a few moments this day, dental faculty, staff, students, alumni and emeriti gathered for one last sendoff for a place the school has called home since 1973 — a Boyne-voyage, if you will.

“It was a heartfelt feeling, seeing that last patient out the door,” said Joe Franco, BA’80, DDS’84, a dental school alumnus now assistant professor of diagnostic sciences in the school and assistant director of clinics. “It really is the end of an era. But now, we’re getting excited about our first patient at the new clinic.”

The Bye-Bye Boyne celebration held in the clinic reception area featured T-shirts, a trivia challenge on the building’s history, door prizes, pizza, tooth-shaped cookies, photo albums and artifacts from the dental school’s 45-year history in the building.

More than 100 people, many of them with decades of service to the School of Dentistry in the Boyne building, turned out to wish the place adieu as the school prepares for the Aug. 27 opening of its new building.

“This is a great milestone for a building that has served our students and our patients very well,” said Mark Latta, DMD, dean of the School of Dentistry. “Now, it’s time for a new chapter in our history that will be opening up Aug. 27. It’s an exciting time in our program’s history.”

Just like Boyne when it first opened, the new building at 21st and Cuming streets is a state-of-the-art facility with all the latest in dental technology. It will also allow Creighton to increase its enrollment capacity from about 85 to 115 students, and — perhaps most importantly for the patients the dental clinics serve, many of whom would otherwise not have care — add to the number of people treated annually, from about 12,000 to 15,000.

The new building will be the third the School of Dentistry has occupied in the past half-century. In attendance at the July 6 celebration were several current and former staff and faculty who began their careers at the school’s location in a house on Webster Street, migrated to the Boyne Building and will now move to the new facility.

“This has been a really good building to us,” said W. Thomas Cavel, DDS’70, a professor of general dentistry, who started on Webster Street and will now move to the new building. “When we moved from the old school to Boyne, we were moving to what we considered the Taj Mahal. At the old place, I shared an office with five other people. Here, we had offices, we had that big, beautiful clinic space.”

When Boyne first opened, the former Creighton University Medical Center along 30th Street had not been built. The dental school, as the farthest building west on the Creighton campus, was still amid houses in a neighborhood. The location’s significance resonated with students and faculty.

“We were part of the community in a way that we still are today and still will be,” Cavel said. “We’ve seen a lot of changes in dentistry — we haven’t used gold fillings in 30 years or so — but that’s a thing that won’t change: the way we treat patients and serve this community. The mission does not change.”

Nevertheless, saying goodbye to the Boyne Building has meant bidding farewell to a place many in the School of Dentistry have considered home for decades.

Terry Wilwerding, DDS’77, MS’00, professor of prosthodontics, was part of the school’s first freshman class to enter Boyne in 1973. After graduation, he joined the faculty part time in 1980 and full time in 1984.

“I’ve spent most of my life here,” Wilwerding said. “It was such a different place when I came through the doors as a 21-year-old. But this building has served Creighton and the community well. There are similar ambitions with the new building, and I know it will be a place that continues to serve.”

As the clinic moves to the new building, it will see emergency cases. Regular appointment schedules will resume when the new building officially opens. Creighton retains use of the Boyne Building, as it will continue housing the departments of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions.

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