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[IMAGE: Ken Rawson]

Ken Rawson began his studies at the SIU School of Dental Medicine with the goal of someday becoming a teacher of the subject matter he was so passionately studying.

"I knew early on that I wanted to be a pediatric dentist, and the School of Dental Medicine is one of the major providers for pediatric dentistry in Illinois," Ken said. "I wanted to be able to provide quality care to children, and be able to share my knowledge with the next generation of dentists as well."

Upon graduating, Ken began a specialty residency in Nevada, knowing that he would eventually like to return to the School. Halfway through his residency, Ann Boyle, dean of the School of Dental Medicine, contacted him with the offer he had always wanted. Unfortunately, it seemed as though Ken would have to turn down the offer to join the faculty due to the financial limitations along with his student loan repayments.

"When Dr. Boyle approached me about returning to the School of Dental Medicine as a member of the faculty I was very excited. As we discussed the salary involved I quickly realized that financially I would not be able to accept the position," he said.

Thanks to the School of Dental Medicine's Faculty Recruitment and Retention Endowment, Ken's dream finally became a reality. Support for this fund helps the School supplement salaries of prospective and current faculty. With this support, administration can pursue faculty members of the highest caliber who will add to the growing reputation and impact of the School.

"Across the nation, the biggest problem is that there aren't enough dental faculty, and financial limitations play a huge part in that," Ken said.

Until Ken was brought on as a faculty member, there was no full-time pediatric dentist at the School of Dental Medicine. The Faculty Recruitment and Retention Endowment made it possible for the School to continue its tradition of providing excellent dental care to thousands of children, many of whom rely on Medicaid, which is not widely accepted by general dentists.

"This support is invaluable to helping us continue to provide excellent education to students and excellent care to patients," Ken said.

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