W. K. Kellogg Foundation Institute:
Graduate and Postgraduate Dentistry


W. K. Kellogg Foundation Institute



The first graduate dental student in the United States or Canada was enrolled in the School of Dentistry of the University of Michigan in 1894. In the years that followed, the faculty of the School of Dentistry evidenced great interest in graduate and postgraduate programs in dentistry, and instruction in these two areas of dental education was offered as far as the limited facilities of the School of Dentistry permitted. The W. K. Kellogg Foundation, shortly after its establishment in 1930 began the development of a health program in accordance with the charter of the Foundation. Those dentists who co-operated in the program were found to be keenly desirous of obtaining postgraduate instruction in the various phases of dental practice. Thus, the Foundation became interested in a need of the dental profession which had been a source of increasing concern to the School of Dentistry. Since the School of Dentistry had been offering postgraduate instruction for many years, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, in 1937, provided funds which amplified the teaching facilities of the School in an effort to meet the growing demands of the dental profession for postgraduate study. This instructional program was, however, distinctly limited in its scope because of the inadequacy of the physical equipment required for postgraduate teaching.

The Kellogg Foundation, in co-operation with the School of Dentistry, formulated a plan to erect a building specially designed for that purpose. In August, 1938, President Ruthven presented to the Board of Regents a proposal of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation offering to give 55 per cent of the cost of an addition to the School of Dentistry, on condition that the Public Works Administration provide 45 per cent of a total cost of $400,000. Ultimately, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation granted $236,500 for the building and the Public Works Administration $209,835. Thus, the total cost of construction was $446,335 (Regent's Proceedings, 1936-39, pp. 784, 955).


Mr. Lewis J. Sarvis of Battle Creek, was the architect for the building, which was erected at the corner of North University Avenue and Fletcher Street, adjacent to and connected with the existing School of Dentistry. The old residence known as the Prettyman Boarding House on the west side of the School of Dentistry was demolished in the fall of 1938, and work was immediately begun on the new building. During the spring of 1940 the building was completed and on April 3 it was dedicated in connection with the annual homecoming of the School of Dentistry. In January, 1940, the building was officially named the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Institute: Graduate and Postgraduate Dentistry. (Regent's Proceedings, 1939-42, p. 187)

Prettyman’s Boarding House

W. K. Kellogg Foundation Institute (right) Student Health Services (left)


W. K. Kellogg Foundation Institute Entrance

The main entrance to the building faced west and broad stone steps led up to the outer doors of beautiful copper grill work. Another short flight of steps, flanked by marble wainscoting, led to a spacious and impressive main lobby, which was paneled in American walnut. From this foyer a broad, marble, central staircase, dividing before a large panel of glass brick, ascended to the second floor, and lateral stairways descended to the basement.

On the corridor, to the right of the foyer, were the administrative offices of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Institute, a faculty conference room, and a seminar room. On the east and west corridor leading to the Dental Building were the dental caries research laboratories, a small lecture room, and a seminar room. To the left of the foyer a wide arch opened directly into a waiting room for children. This led into the clinics and laboratories which were used in the teaching of dentistry for children and orthodontics.

On the second floor the central west part of the building was devoted to clinics and laboratories for partial denture prosthesis, and across the hall, facing on the inner court, were similar facilities for complete denture prosthesis. On the north side were specially adapted facilities for the clinical and laboratory teaching of operative dentistry, root surgery, periodontal, and ceramics. The entire south section of this floor consisted of a series of operating rooms and private consultation offices designed for the department of oral surgery.

On the basement floor, on the south, were a seminar room and two laboratories devoted to oral pathology. On the court there was a large beautifully appointed auditorium which accommodated 280 people. The north side of the basement accommodated locker rooms, seminar rooms, an instrument storage room, and research rooms for the Department of Orthodontics.

On each of the three floors there was direct communication between the Institute and the School of Dentistry through continuous halls on the south and by direct openings on the northwest corner of the Dental Building.

Facilities of the Institute were adapted primarily to graduate and postgraduate instruction in dentistry. All undergraduate teaching, with the exception of oral surgery and dentistry for children, was conducted in the Dental Building. Originally, an exhibition hall was in the north part of the basement. This was remodeled in 1947 to provide an additional seminar room, a storage room, and the instrument room. In the summer of 1952, the small lecture room on the first floor was expanded to seat 100, rather than 55, students. This necessitated a reduction in the size of one seminar room.

The Institute was unique in dental education and offered the most adequate facilities for graduate and postgraduate dental teaching to be found anywhere in the world.

William R. Mann (The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey, p. 1665)