Distinguished Public Service Alumni Award: Garner D. Morgan, DDS ‘80

Garner D. Morgan, DDS ‘80This award recognizes a graduate for meritorious professional leadership and service to the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) and the community. The 2022 recipient is Garner D. Morgan, DDS ’80, in recognition of his dedication to providing excellent dental care to those most in need.  

Morgan graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science In Biology in 1976. He went on to earn his DDS in 1980 from UMSOD, then known as the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. He served as the 1979 class vice president and as president of the Gamma Pi Delta Prosthodontics Society during his time at the school. In 1980, Morgan established a private practice in Mechanicsville, Md. Since opening his dental practice, he has remained an active member of the American Dental Association. He is the immediate past president of the Maryland State Dental Association and a member of the Southern Maryland and Patuxent Study clubs.  

His commitment to the community is evidenced through his service on numerous boards, including those of St. Mary’s Nursing Center, St. Mary’s Hospital, Mother Catherine Spalding School, Southern Maryland Wood Treatment Task Force, St. Mary’s County Chamber of Commerce, the St. Mary’s Business, Education, and Community Alliance, and the Rotary Club. Additionally, Morgan is a lifelong member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Bushwood, Md. 

During his tenure as president of MSDA, Morgan was instrumental in developing a protocol for over 40 Mission of Mercy events throughout Maryland, which set the tone for the initiative and allowed thousands of uninsured and underserved Marylanders to receive oral health care. Mission of Mercy programs ranged from providing necessary treatment and dentures to groups of approximately 50 patients at one Mission of Mercy to providing essential care to over 700 patients during a two-day dental clinic. Morgan and a team of passionate colleagues founded the Southern Maryland Mission of Mercy. Their first clinic was held in rural St. Mary’s County at a local high school.  In addition to serving as chairperson for these clinics, Morgan also delivered direct patient care. His dedication was recognized in 2012 with the Maryland Rural Health Association Outstanding Rural Health Practitioner Award.