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The History Project

Dr. Ken Morrison

Dr, MorrisonIn 1970, Dr. Morrison became our first Chair of Restorative Dentistry after the merger of the Departments of Fixed Partial Dentures and the Department of Operative Dentistry.

I think probably the greatest reason for any success I had as a chairman was because of the part-time staff of practitioners who came to spend either half a day or a day a week with students. There’s just absolutely no question – I had the cream of the crop of dentists coming to work with students, and I used to call every year and ask if they would still be willing to come and work with students. Well, my successor was out of the [military] and what he did, he started to call these guys up and tell them when their days would be. Boy, they told him to go to hell.

The renowned Dr. Gerald Stibbs: Gerry Stibbs was ambidextrous. He was the most skilled operator I have ever seen. They set up a session for him to make a movie of gold foil operation, and usually the cameraman who was shooting, they have to stop, go back and make corrections. They started the movie and Gerry started the operation, and there never was a hitch. They went completely through that operation, beginning to end, never had to pause to make a correction. Now, that is talent!

I asked Gerry if he would teach a student elective in gold foil operations, and he thought about it for a bit and he said, “Yeah, I think I could do that”. So I told the senior class that they had an opportunity to do gold foil operations under the most talented man there was in the field. I said, “I know you’re not going to have much gold foil in your practice and very few can do that, but you’ll learn a discipline that will be valuable to you regardless what you do.” So they bought it and we had those students down there with Gerry, and it was great to see.

“I just marvel at the fact that those [World War II veterans] came back from the service and took dentistry and spread out everywhere, and I was real privileged to teach them.”

Biggest challenges: Making sure that my students were getting the instruction that was appropriate whether it was in the laboratory or in the clinics, and that required a good staff and I was fortunate in having that. I think we produced pretty good dentists, and they had to pass the state board, of course, when they graduated. One of the state board examiners said, “If I flunked one of your graduates because of his training, I’d have to flunk everybody else from other schools,” so you know that was pretty great.


Dr. Morrison calls Dr. Gerald Stibbs (front row, third from left), whom he asked to teach students an elective course in gold foil, “the most skilled operator I have ever seen.”

Favorite teaching moments: I think the course I taught in dentistry to the returning [World War II] veterans – those were my favorite courses. Those guys were just were strictly business, and it was a pleasure to teach those guys – they just they turned out to be fine dentists. Many of them became leaders in their communities, and of course you could see that when you’re traveling around a little bit. You’d meet them and visit with them and find out what they’re doing and that’s very rewarding.

… I just marvel at the fact that those guys came back from the service and took dentistry and spread out everywhere, and I was real privileged to teach them.

Dr. Saul Schluger: Well, they bought Saul from New York to establish the Department of Periodontics, and Saul had an overpowering personality. He did a hell of a job. He really put that department on the map and he earned the respect of everyone in this area.

Dr. Eugene Natkin and Gerald Harrington: They did a great job with the Endodontics department. They put that department on the map too, and they did a first-rate job. … [Gene has] a hell of a sense of humor, but he’s also very, very, very meticulous about anything that he taught, and Gerry is right along in that department.

Dr. Gerard Schultz: Some part-time instructors came to me and said, “You know, that Schultz is just so damn slow, I don’t know if he’s gonna make it,” and I said, “You just simply couldn’t be more wrong. The reason he seems so slow is that Gerry holds himself up to a very high standard, and Gerry won’t give up until he either meets or comes as close as he is capable of coming to meet that standard, and that is Gerry Schultz.” Absolutely, and that proved to be true throughout his career.

Dr. Maurice “Jack” Hickey: He was a great administrator. Any time you had a question for him, he’d check this little spiral notebook he always had in his shirt pocket and then tell you “yes,” “no” or “I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.” And he always did.