Dental school announces first distinguished professorship

The East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine has announced the creation of its first distinguished professorship in honor of Dr. Jasper L. Lewis, Jr., a Greenville pediatric dentist and visionary supporter of the school.

The Jasper L. Lewis, Jr. Distinguished Professorship positions the dental school to place a more specialized emphasis on evolving topics, treatments and research in the realm of pediatric dentistry and add rich educational experiences to classrooms and clinics.

Dr. Jasper L. Lewis, Jr.

Dr. Jasper L. Lewis, Jr.

“We hope to attract an outstanding scholar, researcher and practitioner to join our talented pediatric dentistry faculty,” said Greg Chadwick, dean of the dental school. “Ultimately, we want to prepare our students and residents to serve North Carolinians with the same spirit, energy and dedication that Dr. Lewis has shown for more than four decades.

The School of Dental Medicine has already raised $800,000 in gifts and pledges from an enthusiastic group of friends, family and professional colleagues. The school looks forward to securing at least $200,000 in additional support in the coming months, making the professorship eligible to receive a match from the UNC Distinguished Professors Endowment Trust Fund. Upon reaching its goal, the professorship would become one of the largest endowments of its kind on the ECU Health Sciences campus.

Dr. Jasper Lewis, Jr. grew up in eastern North Carolina, where he returned after pursuing his education and later serving as a dental officer in the U.S. Air Force. He received a BS in biology from Wake Forest University, earned his dental degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a postdoctoral degree in pediatric dentistry from UNC in 1973—the same year he opened his Greenville practice.

He has held leadership positions in dental organizations, including a term as president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and another as vice president of the North Carolina Dental Society. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, and he has lectured across the country and around world on topics including pediatric dentistry and practice management.

Many have heard Jasper Lewis say, “It’s all about the kids.” He has been a driving force in East Central Dental Society’s annual “Give Kids a Smile” Day since the program began nationally in 2003. At the event each year, he makes sure that decision makers witness first-hand the disparities in children’s oral health care.

“I’m thrilled about this professorship for our school,” said Chadwick, “and particularly thrilled that it’s been named in honor of Jasper.”

For information on making a gift to the Jasper L. Lewis, Jr. Distinguished Professorship, contact Jon Jones, senior director of development at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, at 252-744-2239.