Baylor College of Dentistry

By: James E. Makins

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: July 23, 2020

Ignoring the opposition of Dallas dentists who feared additional competition and favored apprenticeship as a means for dental training, two dentists from St. Louis, David E. Morrow and T. G. Bradford, received a charter from the Texas secretary of state on February 28, 1905, to establish State Dental College, the forerunner of Baylor College of Dentistry. The college's first thirty-week term began on October 3, 1905, on the second floor of the Juanita Building on Commerce Street in Dallas, later the location of the entrance to the Adolphus Hotel. Morrow was elected dean of the first faculty, which also included Bradford, Allen N. Kearby, Charles F. Barham, Henry L. Alder, W. C. Rice, J. A. Pelkey, and J. H. Nicholson. By August 1907 the degree of doctor of dental surgery had been granted to seven students, most of whom had begun their work at other dental schools. T. G. Bradford replaced Morrow as dean in 1907 and supervised the move to a more spacious building on South Ervay Street. By the time of Bradford's resignation in 1912, the college had moved again and the graduation classes had increased in size to about eighteen. Fred C. Kingsley was selected to replace Bradford, who, with C. L. Morey, remained the largest stockholder in the school.

Although both classes and curriculum grew, the college experienced difficulties from its founding until 1916, when its owners agreed to transfer control to an advisory board. J. J. Simmons, president of the newly organized Dallas District Dental Society, also served as president of the advisory board. He was assisted by Bush Jones as vice president and C. L. Morey as secretary-treasurer. This arrangement proved to be effective in increasing the number of students for the next two years. The school remained a proprietary one, however, and in the early years of World War I, when the War Department considered drafting students of unrecognized professional schools, the advisory board sought a new arrangement that would enhance the school's status-absorption by Baylor University Medical College, which was then located in Dallas. On May 28, 1918, after graduating twenty-six dentists, Bradford and Morey sold their interest to Baylor University, and State Dental College formally became Baylor Dental College, with Bush Jones as dean.

The difficulties faced by institutions throughout the country during the Great Depression and World War II years were experienced by Baylor Dental College as well, but were complicated by the move of Baylor College of Medicine to Houston in 1943. The dental school was left to rebuild its basic science curriculum without the help of professors from the medical college and in overcrowded postwar conditions. By 1950, when the enrollment had reached 241, a new clinic building was completed that eased overcrowding and provided the college with its first quarters built specifically for dental education. George Powers guided the postwar growth, and, following his retirement in 1952, Harry B. McCarthy became dean. During the fiftieth anniversary year of the college in 1955, the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene was opened, the result of a gift from Dallas philanthropist Walter W. Caruth and the Caruth Foundation. Patricia A. Clendenin served as first director of the Caruth School, where in May 1957 the first class of dental hygienists ever to graduate in Texas received diplomas. Graduate programs in basic sciences and clinical fields were added to Baylor's curriculum beginning in the early 1950s. By 1960 the freshman class included eighty-five students.

On August 1, 1971, Baylor Dental College became Baylor College of Dentistry, and its association with Baylor University ended. The college became a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian educational corporation. Kenneth V. Randolph, dean following McCarthy's retirement in 1968, was named president, academic dean, and chief executive officer. At the same time, the college entered into an agreement with the coordinating board of the Texas College and University System (see TEXAS HIGHER EDUCATION COORDINATING BOARD), whereby Baylor agreed to increase the number of Texas residents in its undergraduate classes so that it would receive state financial support. Between 1974 and 1977 a combined program of new construction and renovation of the existing building more than doubled the classroom, clinic, and laboratory space. When the new facilities were dedicated on October 2, 1977, the address was delivered by L. M. Kennedy, an alumnus of the college, who had served as president of the American Dental Association. Randolph retired in August 1980 and was succeeded by Richard E. Bradley, former dean of the dental school of the University of Nebraska. At that time, undergraduate enrollment had grown to 522, and graduate enrollment stood at forty-eight. In 1992 the undergraduate enrollment was 355 and graduate enrollment was 71. Dominick P. De Paola had been dean since August 1990. In 1995 the college trustees voted to merge Baylor College of Dentistry with Texas A&M University, and in September 1996 the college became part of the A&M system. Baylor College of Dentistry is now a component of the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center. James S. Cole was dean in 2000, when enrollment was 521.

Bush Jones, History of the State Dental College (MS, Baylor College of Dentistry Archives). Walter C. Stout, The First Hundred Years: A History of Dentistry in Texas (Dallas: Egan, 1969). Gladys Yates, The History of Baylor College of Dentistry, 1905–1980 (MS, Baylor College of Dentistry Archives, 1980).

  • Education
  • Medical Schools and Teaching Hospitals
  • Health and Medicine
  • Religion
  • Baptist
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

James E. Makins, “Baylor College of Dentistry,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 23, 2020

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: