University of Utah Breaks Ground on New School of Dentistry on Wakara Way

Aug 23, 2013

Future Ray and Tye Noorda Oral Health Building perspective from Wakara Way.
Future Ray and Tye Noorda Oral Health Building perspective from Wakara Way.
Credit File: University of Utah Health Sciences

The University of Utah’s new School of Dentistry broke ground on the 36 point four million dollar Ray and Tye Noorda Oral Health Building Friday. The University’s senior vice president for health sciences Dr. Vivian Lee says the new school is expected to become a top 10 institution in the nation in reputation and research.

”It is the first new academic school of dentistry in over 25 years,” says Dr. Lee.

She says the inaugural Class of 2017, fresh from their “white coat” induction ceremony on Saturday, is truly a unique group of students.

“These 20 students were selected from almost 800 applicants…800," says Lee. "That’s about a 40 to 1 ratio making it probably the most competitive professional program here at the University,” Lee says.

One of the 20, Chris Capener of North Ogden, downplayed his own high Dental Admission Test score.

“I don’t know what I did but I know my classmates are super smart. They have great DAT scores and they have great GPA’s so they’re one-of-a-kind. I’m excited for the next four years,” says Capener.

University of Utah School of Dentistry Class of 2017. Student Chris Capener of North Ogden is pictured in the 2nd row center.
University of Utah School of Dentistry Class of 2017. Student Chris Capener of North Ogden is pictured in the 2nd row center.
Credit Bob Nelson

The University’s Regional Dental Education Program also only accepted twenty students. It began in 1980 but until now Utah students had to finish their DDS degree at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. The Noorda Family donated 30 million dollars for the building. Ray Noorda, who founded Provo-based Novell, passed away in 2006. The building is expected to be completed in December 2014.