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Dean’s $50K gift boosts facility upgrades at WVU School of Dentistry

WVU School of Dentistry Dean Stephen Pachuta speaks at a philanthropy celebration help in September 2022. A $50,000 gift from Pachuta and his wife, René, supports facility upgrades at the School. (WVU Photo/Davidson Chan)

WVU School of Dentistry Dean Stephen Pachuta speaks at a philanthropy celebration help in September 2022. A $50,000 gift from Pachuta and his wife, René, supports facility upgrades at the School. (WVU Photo/Davidson Chan)

West Virginia University School of Dentistry Dean Stephen Pachuta and his wife, René, are leading by example with a $50,000 gift to support facility upgrades designed to enhance oral health care education and better serve patients in West Virginia.

Pachuta’s gift aids Transforming Oral Health: The Campaign for Facilities, an $11 million fundraising effort to modernize facilities at the School of Dentistry. School officials partnered with WVU Facilities Management and the SmithGroup, an international architectural design company, to develop a comprehensive renovation plan that targets treatment areas for dental hygiene, diagnostic sciences, pediatrics, oral surgery, orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics and more.

Pachuta’s gift was made in conjunction with WVU Day of Giving, a 24-hour online fundraising effort to support the University’s greatest needs. The March 22 event raised $18.1 million from 8,200 gifts made by alumni and friends of WVU.

Stephen and René Pachuta

“We are sincerely grateful for Stephen and René’s generous gift to the School of Dentistry during WVU’s Day of Giving,” Dr. Clay Marsh, WVU Health Sciences chancellor and executive dean, said. “Their commitment to the School’s mission to serve West Virginians will enable us to plan for facilities improvements and growth and foster expanded education opportunities for our dental students and residents, which ultimately allows us to provide the most advanced oral care for our state’s citizens.”

The renovation work will ultimately ensure the School of Dentistry is prepared to meet the oral health needs of Mountain State families. More than 80% of the dentists practicing in West Virginia graduated from WVU, and over 14,000 patients come to School of Dentistry clinics for treatment each year.

The new facilities will complement the mentoring and guidance provided by world-class faculty with expertise in unique specialties to guarantee graduates are proficient in the most advanced techniques and evolving technologies.

“The success of our renovation initiative is a strategic imperative to position our School as a leader in providing high-quality dental education and access to care for our West Virginia families,” Pachuta said. “Modernizing our educational and clinical environment has never been more integral to the future of our Health Sciences Center, West Virginia University and those entrusted to our care. Now is the time to set us up for generational success as we continue our pursuit of excellence as the school of choice for students, faculty, staff and especially patients.”  

A native of Beckley, West Virginia, Pachuta attended WVU and graduated from the School of Dentistry in 1985. He then spent 32 years in the United States Navy, where he served as chief of the Navy Dental Corps and executive officer or commander of multiple Navy medical and dental treatment facilities in the U.S., Guam and Japan. He retired as a rear admiral.

Pachuta returned home to West Virginia in 2021, when he was appointed dean. He draws energy and inspiration from School of Dentistry students, faculty and staff, and he is proud to give back to West Virginians by nurturing the next generation of dentists, dental specialists and dental hygienists.

The latest renovation plan builds upon work that began in 2021 with upgrades to the School’s patient reception and waiting area, along with the urgent care and radiology clinics. The space now features a modernized look, state-of-the-art equipment, a more open and inviting reception area, ample patient seating and physical doorways that better identify School facilities within the WVU Health Sciences Center.

Alumni and friends interested in supporting Transforming Oral Health: The Campaign for Facilities should contact Director of Development Karen Coombs at or 304-216-3784. Gifts to the WVU School of Dentistry Facility Fund can also be made online at

All gifts are made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.

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