Awards, Dental Foundation

Dental Alumni Awards

L-R Charles Willis '74, Jeff Burkes, Dale Finn'78 and Morris Griffin '68

L-R Charles Willis ’74, Jeff Burkes, Dale Finn’78 and Morris Griffin ’68

The UNC Dental Alumni Association recognized three individuals at the school’s Dental Seminar Day today.President of the Alumni Association Charles Willis, DDS, of Durham, N.C., presented the awards. In presenting the awards, Willis said, “These individuals have served the School of Dentistry and the Dental Alumni Association with distinction and have worked tirelessly and unselfishly to support the school and dentistry.”

Dale Finn, DDS, received the distinguished service award for his contributions to the School of Dentistry and the UNC Dental Alumni Association. Morris Griffin, DDS, received the John C. Brauer Award that recognizes a lifetime of service to the school and the dental profession. Jeff Burkes, DDS, MS, a recently retired faculty member, received an honorary alumni membership certificate. Finn, a 1976 graduate of the school, served on the UNC Dental Alumni Board for seven years and was president of the Board 1999-2000. During his term, Associates Day, a program that brings alumni who need associates and students who want to be associates together, was implemented, the DSS Scholarship endowment was established and the first $3,000 Alumni scholarship was given. He continues to serve on the Alumni Scholarship Committee. He is also involved in organized dentistry and his leadership roles include serving as president of the Guilford County Dental Society and as chair of the annual North Carolina Dental Society Planning Committee for the 2000 meeting. Finn has been in private practice for 25 years in Greensboro, N.C.

Burkes received his DDS degree from Baylor University College of Dentistry. He developed an interest in oral pathology and forensic dentistry while serving in Vietnam with the U. S. Air Force. After three years of military service, he entered the University of Michigan for specialty training and earned a master’s in oral pathology. He joined the School of Dentistry faculty in 1969 as assistant professor of oral pathology and retired earlier this year as a professor in the department of diagnostic sciences and general dentistry. His 32-year tenure includes serving as chair of the department of oral diagnosis for 10 years. He also used his forensic expertise to identify bodies during mass disasters such as plane crashes or identify skeleton remains. The later often made interesting topics for classroom discussion. His students honored him seven times for teaching excellence. He also received two service awards from the American Cancer Society Burkes is a fellow of the American Academy of Oral Pathology and the American College of Dentists, and a diplomate of the American Board of Pathology. In retirement, he continues to be a part-time consultant with North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners.

Griffin, a Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill as an undergraduate, is a 1968 graduate of the School of Dentistry. He has been in private practice in Durham, N.C. for 33 years. He served on the Dental Foundation of North Carolina, Inc. Board, the UNC Dental Alumni Board and was president of the Alumni Association. During his career, he has had many leadership roles in organized dentistry including: president of the Durham Orange County Dental Society, the Third District Dental Society, and North Carolina Services for Dentistry. He is a member of the American College of Dentistry, the International College of Dentists, the Academy of Dentistry International, and the board of Medical Security Insurance Company. Griffin was an alternate delegate to the ADA from 1986-1993 and delegate from 1994-2001. Morris was chairman of the 16th District Caucus to the ADA this year. He has served on many ADA and North Carolina Dental Society Committees including Executive Director Searches and Peer Review. He is a retired lieutenant colonel in the North Carolina Army National Guard.