Historic $1.5 million gift establishes first endowed professorship at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry

Frederick G. Smith, MS, DDS '78, and Venice Paterakis, DDS '81The University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) has received the largest one-time gift in the school’s 175-year history, a $1.5 million donation from alumni Frederick G. Smith, MS, DDS ’78, and Venice K. Paterakis, DDS ’81, which will establish the institution’s first endowed professorship. The newly-established Frederick G. Smith, MS, DDS, & Venice K. Paterakis, DDS, Endowed Professorship in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery for the University of Maryland School of Dentistry will provide resources to fund the work of a distinguished faculty member, enabling this professor to pursue new areas of research and innovative teaching methods.

“As the world’s first college of dentistry, established in 1840, we celebrate our 175th anniversary this year. This historic gift pays tribute to the school’s illustrious past as a leader in dental and dental hygiene education while ensuring that the University of Maryland School of Dentistry will remain among the premier dental schools in the world,” says Dean Mark A. Reynolds, DDS ’86, PhD. “I speak for all of us here at the School of Dentistry when I express my heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Smith and Dr. Paterakis for their generosity.”

“This gift enables the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to further enhance our surgical training programs and pursue exciting new research endeavors,” says Robert A. Ord, DDS, MD, chairman of the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. “The generosity of Dr. Smith and Dr. Paterakis will positively impact not only our students and residents, but also the many patients in Maryland we serve each year.”  

The establishment of this first endowed professorship advances the School of Dentistry’s educational, research, patient care and service mission. The endowed professor will launch ambitious interdisciplinary initiatives within the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery’s educational programs and provide new opportunities for student involvement in cutting-edge research projects. Endowed professorships typically attract superior faculty members who are among the elite in their field.

“I’m proud to be able to play a role in enhancing the quality of the education that will be provided to future students. For me, it is extremely rewarding to contribute to the fiscal capacity of the institution,” Smith says. “I was fortunate enough to attend the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and I received an exceptional education.”

Smith, a Maryland native and vice president of Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, practiced oral & maxillofacial surgery in Hunt Valley for more than a decade before assuming a role in his family’s media business. In addition to his leadership position at one of the nation’s largest media companies, Smith is founder and president of the Gerstell Academy, a private school for children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The academy, located south of Westminster, Md., teaches a curriculum focused on leadership, college preparatory academics, physical training and modern language fluency. Paterakis, has practiced dentistry in the Fells Point/Inner Harbor area for more than 25 years. Smith, who also serves on the board of trustees for the University of Maryland, Baltimore Foundation, and Paterakis are also generous supporters of many charitable organizations that serve the metropolitan area.

The University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD), the world’s first dental college, is dedicated to pursuing excellence in education, research, patient care and service. As Maryland’s only school of dentistry, UMSOD provides an innovative educational environment for dental students, dental hygiene students and residents, while providing oral health care services for nearly 30,000 patients each year. The school, ranked fifth in National Institutes of Health funding for public dental schools, also conducts leading-edge research in the areas of oncology and diagnostics, neural and pain sciences and microbial pathogenesis.