Orthodontist gives ECU $4M for dental school

Posted February 26, 2010 2:52 p.m. EST

— A retired Greenville orthodontist on Friday pledged to give $4 million to East Carolina University for its new dental school.

Dr. Ledyard E. Ross, 84, graduated from what was then East Carolina College in the early 1950s. His gift is among the largest in ECU's history, officials said, and the university Board of Trustees voted to name the 100,000-square-foot building housing the School of Dentistry as Ledyard E. Ross Hall.

“This generous gift comes at a time when we are starting a new school and puts us in a position to support faculty and students at its inception,” Chancellor Steve Ballard said in a statement.

ECU’s dental school plans to admit its first students for the fall semester of 2011. About 50 students will enter the program every year.

The General Assembly provided about $90 million to launch the dental school, including construction of the new building and 10 community service learning centers in rural and underserved areas of North Carolina.

The first three centers will be in Sylva, Ahoskie and Elizabeth City. Dental school faculty members will be based in each, along with advanced dental residents and senior students who will receive enhanced dental education in real practice settings.