Inaugural members of the WVU School of Dentistry Pylons Alliance Loyalty Society pose for a group photo at the induction ceremony held Friday, Sept. 16. (WVU Photo/Davidson Chan)
A new honorary society established by the West Virginia University School of Dentistry Leadership Council aims to increase philanthropic support for student scholarships, facilities, programs and more.
The Pylons Alliance Loyalty Society (PALS) was created to recognize donors to the School of Dentistry who contributed a major gift of $50,000 or more. The inaugural class of 27 honorees was inducted Friday, Sept. 16, during a dinner celebration hosted by the School of Dentistry at the Erickson Alumni Center.
“The members of the inaugural class of our Pylons Alliance Loyalty Society are energized supporters of our School,” Dr. Stephen Pachuta, dean of the School of Dentistry, said. “They bring a shared passion for their school and are grateful for the continued connection with classmates from college and dental school days gone by. An event like this takes on the feel of a family reunion. Old school stories are shared, laughs abound and it is an opportunity to reconnect. Most importantly, this is a celebration of family helping family. These established oral healthcare providers are committed to making a difference for their next generation colleagues.”
Inductee Dr. James Anderson, a 1986 Doctor of Dental Surgery graduate who serves on the School of Dentistry Leadership Council, had the idea for PALS.
“When [the Leadership Council] got to the first meeting, our first thought was how can we reconnect with the alumni,” Anderson said. “When we began to think about doing that, we wanted a really special and unique way to honor and thank our major gift contributors.”
Anderson said gifts from the PALS inductees support a variety of areas at the WVU School of Dentistry, including student scholarships, the ongoing Campaign for Facilities, faculty chairs and more.
Inductee Margaret H. Teeter joined her brothers – Dr. Edward Howard and the late Dr. Richard Howard, both WVU School of Dentistry graduates – in establishing the Sabe Isaac & Rose Mary Howard Memorial Scholarship in 1992, in memory of their parents. She later created a namesake scholarship in 2019 that alternates between Doctor of Dental Surgery and dental hygiene Bachelor of Science students.
Teeter and her husband Andy cite their family legacy as one of their reasons for giving.
“We decided to help support the dental school at WVU because of family members,” Teeter said. “We have at least six direct family members that have gone through the dental school... We want to pay it forward to people who need support to become dentists and dental hygienists in the future.”
Teeter earned a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from the WVU School of Dentistry in 1972 and worked with her brothers at Howard and Howard Dentistry in Charleston.
Dr. William H. Mason, another PALS inductee, credits his education at WVU for his ability to contribute a major gift to the School of Dentistry. Mason and his wife, Ellen, contributed $50,000, which was split between the Dr. Phillip Farley Memorial Scholarship and the Faculty Fund.
“We’re very fortunate to be able to make the contribution we made,” Mason said. “The dental school really made life a lot nicer for us.”
Now retired, Mason graduated from WVU with a DDS degree in 1970. He and Ellen, a WVU School of Nursing alum, reside in Winchester, Virginia.
Anderson said the goal is to keep Teeter, Mason and other graduates connected in the future.
“These inductees will be invited back every year to welcome a new class, and we’re hoping this is a small way to grow our alumni base and keep them involved,” Anderson said.
Other PALS inductees include:
- Dr. Thomas Arkle III and Dr. Stephanie Chen
- Dr. Byron H. Black and Mrs. Julia Black
- Dr. David G. Edwards and Mrs. Linda Edwards
- Dr. William M. Brown, Jr. and Mrs. Jaime Brown
- Dr. Charles W. Houghton and Mrs. Pat Houghton
- Dr. Edward E. Howard
- Dr. Thomas W. Jarrett
- Dr. Laura Lineberry and Mr. David Phillips
- Dr. Moe Momen and Dr. Jennifer Momen
- Dr. Michael R. Munn and Mrs. Emily Munn
- Dr. Pranav Patel and Mrs. Shefali Shah
- Dr. Joseph V. Rice and Mrs. Catherine Rice
- Dr. Loring Ross and Mrs. Young Ross
- Dr. Charles Seita and Mrs. Trudy Seita
- Dr. Imad Shammaa and Mrs. Dana Shammaa
- Dr. David Sheinkopf and Dr. Shelley Weiner
- Dr. E. Ronald Shellenberger and Mrs. Janet Shellenberger
- Dr. Ronnie J. Sparks and Mrs. Jade Sparks
- Dr. David C. Spokane and Family
- Dr. John T. Stevens and Mrs. Ann Stevens
- Dr. Robert L. Wanker and Mrs. Rosemary Wanker
- Dr. David Whiston and Mrs. Julia Whiston
- Dr. Edward E. White Jr. and Mrs. Louise White
- Mr. Steven F. White
To learn more about Pylons Alliance Loyalty Society, visit https://dentistry.wvu.edu/alumni/support-dentistry/pylons-alliance-loyalty-society/ or contact Director of Development Karen Coombs at 304-216-3784 or email@example.com.
All gifts to the School of Dentistry are made through the WVU Foundation , the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.