Beloved Faculty Member, Denny Hillenbrand dies


2/02/38 – 11/11/03

Dr. Dennis G. Hillenbrand was a graduate of Loyola University (1960) and Loyola Dental School (1964).  A career US Naval officer (1964-1988), he completed his oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in 1976.  He subsequently served many tours of duty, culminating in his favorite assignment:  Hawaii.  His death on Veterans’ Day reminds us of his deep pride in and devotion to the US Navy.

Denny retired as a Captain from the Navy in 1988 and joined the faculty of the UNC Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery as a clinical associate professor and Director of the OMFS Clinic.  His love of teaching and his accessibility to students immediately established him as one of the most popular and admired professors in the school.  He was a hard taskmaster, demanding the best from his students.  His commitment to maintaining the tradition of excellence at the UNC School of Dentistry is evident by the many teaching awards given to him over the years by Dental School classes.  More important, his legacy is the hundreds of dental students who benefited from and will never forget his professional and personal guidance.

Denny served on many school committees, including the Admissions Committee and the 3rd and 4th Year Teaching Committee (chairman).  After his retirement in 2001, he continued to serve as a part-time clinical faculty member and as a member of the Admissions Committee.

Denny’s relationships with the faculty and staff were unique:  professional, efficient, instructive, and supportive – yet always ready for a joke, Chinese food, crossword puzzles, and some Tar Heel sports talk at the appropriate time.  He included everyone in his friendship circle, with regardless of status or position.

The faculty and staff of our department mourn the loss of this fine man.  His generosity, wit, professional dedication, and enthusiasm will not be forgotten.

Dr. Hillenbrand is survived by his wife, Ann; his son, Dean and granddaughter Jamie; his son, Jon and his wife, Stephanie; his daughter Karin; and his brothers Ronald and Barry.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Hillenbrand-Lupton Student Award for Academic Excellence in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.  Please make your checks payable to the OMFS foundation, Department of OMFS, Campus Box 7450 Chapel Hill, NC 27599.