Photo of buildings where classes were held while facilities were constructed at the school in 1950

History of the Adams School of Dentistry

Established in 1950, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry was the first dental school in North Carolina, and was the state’s only dental school for 61 years. The North Carolina General Assembly of 1949 made creation of the Adams School of Dentistry possible.

Although the dental building was not occupied until September 1952, the first class of 40 students was admitted in fall 1950 and held class in two Quonset huts. That month, the school admitted its first patient – a prosthodontics patient – at 2 p.m., September 9, 1952.

Since that time, the school has grown to include four buildings: First Dental; Brauer Hall; Tarrson Hall, which includes one of dental education’s best clinical teaching facilities; and Koury Oral Health Sciences, which is a state-of-the-art-facility that houses the majority of the school’s research laboratories, classrooms, a lecture hall that seats 220, and a 105-person simulation lab.

The Adams School of Dentistry is located within a dynamic health science campus that includes the UNC-CH School of Medicine, School of Nursing, Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Gillings School of Global Public Health, and contributes to the spirit of collaboration among the health sciences at Carolina.

The full story of the UNC-CH Adams School of Dentistry is one that includes many people and buildings, but is built on the desire to serve North Carolina through excellence in education, research, service and patient care.

You may read more in “From Quonset Hut to Number One and Beyond: History of the UNC School of Dentistry,” available at the UNC-CH Libraries or online.