Overview

Founding

The American College of Dentists is the oldest major honorary organization for dentists. It was founded August 20, 1920 at the Copley-Plaza Hotel in Boston by the President, President-elect, and Secretary of the American Dental Association (then called the National Dental Association) and the President of the National Association of Dental Faculties (precursor of the American Dental Education Association). The College was founded “to elevate the standards of dentistry, to encourage graduate study, and to grant Fellowship to those who have done meritorious work.” The mission of the American College of Dentists is to advance excellence, ethics, professionalism, and leadership in dentistry.

Founding

The American College of Dentists is the oldest major honorary organization for dentists. It was founded August 20, 1920 at the Copley-Plaza Hotel in Boston by the President, President-elect, and Secretary of the American Dental Association (then called the National Dental Association) and the President of the National Association of Dental Faculties (precursor of the American Dental Education Association). The College was founded “to elevate the standards of dentistry, to encourage graduate study, and to grant Fellowship to those who have done meritorious work.” The mission of the American College of Dentists is to advance excellence, ethics, professionalism, and leadership in dentistry.

dentistry tools

Ethics and Professionalism

Since its founding the American College of Dentists has come to epitomize ethics and professionalism in dentistry. It has worked tirelessly to improve the ethical climate of dentistry and many of its projects-former, current, and planned-reflect this focus and heritage. The College is recognized by its peers as the “conscience of dentistry.”

Leadership

The College has a long and distinguished association with leaders and leadership. The College was founded by the leaders of dentistry in 1920, selects new Fellows primarily based on leadership, exhibits leadership in areas related to its mission, and includes leadership as a key mission element. While Fellows represent diverse interests, the single characteristic all Fellows share is leadership.

“The College must be a symbol of the ideals that have made our profession great; the College should be a catalyst…a stabilizer…a resource…to which the profession can turn for guidance in matters of ethics, of philosophy, of principle… The American College of Dentists has many functions but its basic mission-its reason for being-is leadership.”

Philip E. Blackerby
President, 1963

Membership

Membership in the American College of Dentists is by invitation only. There are over 7,000 Fellows – all selected based on their exceptional contributions to organized dentistry, oral health care, dental research, dental education, the profession, and society. Approximately 3.5% of dentists are Fellows of the American College of Dentists.

Nomination and Selection of Fellows

The common characteristic shared by successful candidates for Fellowship is demonstrated leadership in some aspect of dentistry or public service. The selection process for Fellowship utilizes a well-established, confidential peer review system evaluating professional and community leadership positions, contributions, and credentials. Each fall new Fellows are inducted at a Convocation ceremony held during the Annual Meeting of the College.

NOMINATION PROCESS

Responsibilities of Fellowship

Conferring of Fellowship in the American College of Dentists may be a high-point in a career, but it is not an endpoint.  While Fellowship symbolizes leadership and meritorious achievement, it also defines a standard for future endeavors. At a minimum it is expected that a Fellow will:

  1. Uphold and promote the principles and objectives of the College;
  2. Strive for personal and professional improvement;
  3. Continue to contribute to organized dentistry and the community;
  4. Participate in College events at Section, Regency, and national levels;
  5. Regularly nominate qualified dentists for Fellowship.

Organizational Structure

Officers and Regents of the American College of Dentists provide guidance for the organization; elective officers and Regents are elected by the entire Fellowship. The College is divided into eight Regencies; Regencies are further divided into Sections. There are 51 Sections overall. Overall planning and management is under the Executive Director and the Executive Office in suburban Washington, D.C. For more information, see Article I of the Bylaws and Organization.

Nomination and Selection of Fellows

The common characteristic shared by successful candidates for Fellowship is demonstrated leadership in some aspect of dentistry or public service. The selection process for Fellowship utilizes a well-established, confidential peer review system evaluating professional and community leadership positions, contributions, and credentials. Each fall new Fellows are inducted at a Convocation ceremony held during the Annual Meeting of the College.

NOMINATION PROCESS

Responsibilities of Fellowship

Conferring of Fellowship in the American College of Dentists may be a high-point in a career, but it is not an endpoint.  While Fellowship symbolizes leadership and meritorious achievement, it also defines a standard for future endeavors. At a minimum it is expected that a Fellow will:

  1. Uphold and promote the principles and objectives of the College;
  2. Strive for personal and professional improvement;
  3. Continue to contribute to organized dentistry and the community;
  4. Participate in College events at Section, Regency, and national levels;
  5. Regularly nominate qualified dentists for Fellowship.

Organizational Structure

Officers and Regents of the American College of Dentists provide guidance for the organization; elective officers and Regents are elected by the entire Fellowship. The College is divided into eight Regencies; Regencies are further divided into Sections. There are 51 Sections overall. Overall planning and management is under the Executive Director and the Executive Office in suburban Washington, D.C. For more information, see Article I of the Bylaws and Organization.

Projects and Activities

Throughout its history, the American College of Dentists has undertaken and supported numerous studies aimed at enhancing the quality of dental care and the profession’s service to society.

SEE OUR CURRENT  EFFORTS >

Annual Meeting and Convocation

The Annual Meeting and Convocation of the College are held each fall directly prior to the ADA Annual Session. In addition to welcoming new Fellows, the Annual Meeting features dynamic speakers, quality CE, and lively social events.

READ MORE >

American college of dentists seal

Seal of the American College of Dentists

According to the history of Herodotus, among the Egyptians of the Fifth Century, B.C., “some physicians are for the eyes, others for the head, others for the teeth….” This statement indicates that a group of priest-physicians actually specialized in dental matters. Because of this heritage, early Fellows of the College incorporated a number of Egyptian elements in the design of the seal:

  1. A scroll inscribed with a portion of Ebers Papyrus containing a dental prescription;
  2. An outer border taken from the ornament of an ancient tomb, Hepi in Sawijet el Meitn;
  3. Two Egyptian figures holding the scroll;
  4. A sacred scarab (winged) supporting the moon, a common Egyptian symbol;
  5. Two lotus flowers, typically Egyptian;
  6. Two crocodiles (the fat of which was used for the relief of odontalgia) supporting the sun, another common Egyptian symbol;
  7. Red, blue, and gold coloring, also typically Egyptian.

The seal is a Registered Trademark ® of the American College of Dentists.

Official Colors

The official colors of the College are Lilac and American Rose.