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Alumni couple’s gifts aid orthodontics and pediatrics at WVU School of Dentistry

Dr. Glenn A. Boyles and Dr. Laura Withers-Boyles

Dr. Glenn A. Boyles and Dr. Laura Withers-Boyles

Future students and patients of the West Virginia University School of Dentistry will benefit from an alumni couple’s gifts – totaling $100,000 – to carry on their family legacies in oral health care.

Dr. Glenn A. Boyles contributed $50,000 to establish the Boyles Family Endowment for Orthodontics, while his wife, Dr. Laura Withers-Boyles, contributed $50,000 to establish the Withers Family Endowment for Pediatric Dentistry. The endowment funds will be used to advance the work and mission of each department.

“As a land-grant institution, we take seriously our commitment to improving the quality of life of our West Virginia families,” Dr. Stephen Pachuta, dean of the WVU School of Dentistry, said. “With the incredibly generous support we are receiving from Glenn and Laura, our ability to meet the needs of our current family of patients will be greatly enhanced. Their contributions will also significantly expand our ability to provide specialty care across West Virginia. Their gift helps us train specialists in orthodontics and pediatric dentistry as well as address gaps in access to care in dentistry. We again thank them for their unwavering commitment to our students and the future of dental education at our School of Dentistry.” 

Boyles and Withers-Boyles were both inspired to pursue dentistry by their late fathers, and they opted to make separate gifts to pay tribute to their respective family histories. Boyles’ father, Dr. George J. “Doc” Boyles, practiced in Fairmont for 62 years; Withers-Boyles’ father, Dr. H. Scott Withers, practiced in White Sulphur Springs for 38 years.

The couple met as students at the School of Dentistry, where they both completed their Doctor of Dental Surgery degrees in 1989. Upon graduation, they settled in Fairmont and practiced with Boyles’ father for many years.

Their gifts stem from their decades-long partnership with the School and Department of Orthodontics Chair Dr. Peter Ngan, who remains a mentor and friend. Boyles began teaching at the School of Dentistry in 1990, first in operative dentistry and then in pediatrics at Ngan’s urging. Ngan eventually asked Boyles to lead the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and later encouraged him to further his education by specializing in orthodontics.

When Boyles returned to school in 2004, Ngan asked Withers-Boyles to assume her husband’s former role. She led the pediatrics department for several years before eventually stepping down.

“I think because of what Dr. Ngan did for us, we definitely have to give back,” Boyles said. “It’s just a minor contribution for all the things he did for us. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in to give back. It’s his influence that has shaped us. In my life, besides my father, I think Dr. Ngan is my biggest influence in dentistry.”

Withers-Boyles said she hopes her gift helps WVU proceed with plans to launch a residency program in pediatric dentistry to help address children’s oral health challenges in the Mountain State.

“The need in West Virginia is so great for kids,” she said. “We don’t have enough pediatric dentists in the state, and it’s hard to get in with a general dentist as well. Sometimes, general dentists just don’t feel comfortable treating kids. I want to help their postdoctoral program get off the ground. Hopefully, some of the people they educate stay in West Virginia to take care of our residents.”

Boyles said he hopes the orthodontics endowment helps Ngan and the School of Dentistry continue to provide a top-notch education.

“I want Dr. Ngan to utilize this endowment as he sees fit,” Boyles said. “He’s more in tune with things than we are in the department. I want the education level and value to be honored and respected in orthodontics. I want this endowment to lead to educational opportunities for future residents as they pursue orthodontics.”

Ngan said he is grateful for the family’s generosity and continued support of the School of Dentistry. He also hopes to welcome Boyles and Withers-Boyles back as part-time faculty.

“Glenn and Laura love teaching, and I have excellent feedback from the students about how much they are missed,” Ngan said. “I am hoping when we start the pediatric dentistry residency and, in a few years, when the orthodontics and pediatric dentistry departments are back next to each other at the Health Sciences Center, we will have them both return to teaching for the School of Dentistry.”

Boyles and Withers-Boyles said it’s important for alumni to support the School of Dentistry, particularly as the state’s only dental school. They are eager to see their endowments grow – through continued family giving and other contributions – to make a difference for generations to come.

Their family legacy now includes four generations of dentists – from Withers-Boyles’ grandfather to the couple’s daughter, MacKenzie Boyles-Horan, also an orthodontist trained at WVU. She works alongside her dad at Boyles Orthodontics, a family practice with offices in Fairmont and Morgantown. Withers-Boyles operates a separate general dentistry practice in Fairmont.

The couple has one other daughter, Catherine Boyles, who works as a food chemist in Pittsburgh.

The endowment gifts from Boyles and Withers-Boyles were made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.

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