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The Cycle of Giving

Paul Clark, Special Assistant to the Dean for Development

With a new calendar year still in its infancy, many people have paused to reflect upon the year that has just ended, with a number of us setting new goals, embarking on new chapters and looking ahead to the future with anticipation and determination.  With every ending comes a new beginning.

Colleges and universities are all too familiar with transitions, as indeed their entire existence functions on continuously repeating cycles.  The academic year, the fiscal year, strategic and operating plans, capital campaigns, athletic seasons, production seasons, research windows – every aspect of our operation depends on time-honored and well-planned cycles in order to reach goals, evaluate performance and meet expectations of service.

Philanthropic giving in higher education is also cyclical.  Reductions in state support are well-documented and ongoing, prompting the increasing importance of private contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations in order to continue to secure a level of excellence in everything we provide for our students.  It’s a secret to no one that we thus engage in a cycle of annual solicitations and requests for donations from our loyal and generous alumni and friends.  However, what people are less aware of are the stories of those who go above and beyond to provide the vital support we need – year in and year out.

In 2013, we lost one of our dearest friends.  Elizabeth Siebel passed away on September 27 at the age of 105.  Beloved by our students, faculty and staff, Elizabeth used her estate to establish a gift to the ULSD to create the Dr. Richard Siebel Memorial Scholarship Fund in honor of her late son, a graduate of our DMD class of 1960, who lost his life in an auto accident in 1961.  At the time, it was the largest individual gift in the history of the ULSD.  Elizabeth remained close to her son’s classmates and his alma mater, and the legacy of her family will live on in perpetuity with this scholarship through each student who benefits from the opportunity it provides.

As we mourned Elizabeth’s passing and her extraordinary legacy, the cycle continued on, and we were pleased to be selected as a recipient of support from the Humanitarian Foundation, the philanthropic outreach of the Grottoes of North America.  The Humanitarian Foundation has pledged to provide funding to cover unreimbursed oral care for children with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, organ transplants and mental retardation.  These special-need patients now have the ability to receive quality care from the residents in our Graduate Pediatric Dentistry program without financial burden, while our residents benefit from the experience.  We are honored to begin this new relationship with the Humanitarian Foundation, and look forward to facilitating bright smiles on many young faces.

2014 marks both endings and beginnings at the ULSD, especially for Dr. Wood Currens, who will retire at the end of May.  After 44 years of service, Dr. Currens will begin a new chapter of his life, and it is safe to say the School of Dentistry will never be the same.  We will honor and celebrate his amazing career and longevity at an open reception on the evening of March 14th at the Hyatt in downtown Louisville.  Mark your calendar now and look for more information to come in January.  This will be an event for the ages as we celebrate all things ‘Woody’ and express our deep sympathy to his lovely wife, Jennifer, who will soon have the pleasure of his company all day, every day.

With every ending comes a new beginning.  If you would like to secure your legacy while creating a new opportunity at the School of Dentistry, please contact me today.  Together, we can continue the cycle of giving that has supported the ULSD for generations, and will do so for generations to come.


Paul Clark
Special Assistant to the Dean for Development
(502) 751-2097

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Left to Right:  Dean John Sauk, Members of the Aahmed Grotto, Representatives of the Humanitarian Foundation and Dr. Theresa Mayfield

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Dr. Wood E. Currens

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Mrs. Elizabeth Siebel

103-year-old mother honors late son, Dr. Richard Siebel

University of Louisville dental school alumnus Richard Siebel, ‘60, DMD, had only been in practice for a year when he lost his life in an auto accident in 1961. To deal with her grief, his mother Elizabeth, now 103-years-old began giving to the community through her volunteer work. She helped in an elementary school lunch room and transported donated blood for the American Red Cross – even into her 90’s.

Through the years, Elizabeth remained friends with some of Richards’s dental school classmates, including Jerry Ballard, ’60, DMD. In honor of her son and his classmates who have stayed close to her, Elizabeth plans to give the majority of her estate to establish an endowed scholarship fund. The Dr. Richard Siebel Memorial Scholarship Fund will provide financial assistance to UofL School of Dentistry students who are Kentucky residents and have demonstrated financial need.

When Elizabeth moved from her Louisville home to a local retirement community, she transferred her property to the university for a Charitable Gift Annuity.

Thanks to the generous contributions of Elizabeth and her late husband, the legacy of Dr. Richard Siebel will live through the education of future dental students.

Elizabeth Marie (Hermes) Siebel, 105, passed away September 27,2013

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