Dental school simulation clinic named in honor of alumni donor

Dr. Gary and Allyson Ball provide $1 million to support student education.
Dental school simulation clinic named in honor of alumni donor

The Ball family gathers under the new sign

Faith, family and education. These are the most important aspects of life, according to Gary C. Ball, D.M.D.

“You can’t do anything in this world without education,” Ball said. “Allyson and I have supported various educational endeavors and we want to give back to the one place that had the most influence on our success – the University of Louisville School of Dentistry.” 

Ball, a 1978 graduate of the school, and his wife Allyson, have pledged $1 million to create an endowed fund for the expansion of the school’s clinical opportunities and new technologies for student education. In recognition of their gift, the dental school has named the school’s simulation clinic in their honor. 

The 120-station simulation space allows students a real-life experience prior to providing care to dental patients. A third of the stations are equipped with mannequin heads and torsos and are equipped with chairside computers for learning the school’s electronic health record system. Additionally, another 80 stations are equipped with clinical lights and mannequin heads. The total allows for an entire class of dental students to work in the simulation area simultaneously.

“Ball exemplifies the best of our graduates utilizing their profession and philanthropy to affect positive change not only in their local communities, but in the world abroad,” said T. Gerard Bradley, B.D.S., M.S., Dr.Med.Dent., dean of the School of Dentistry.

After graduating from UofL, Ball returned to Indianapolis where he joined his father’s dental practice. Since then, his son Craig and daughter-in-law Andrea, also UofL School of Dentistry graduates, have joined him. 

Ball and his wife have five children, two of which they adopted from Vietnam. One of their adopted daughters had a cleft lip and palate, and while she underwent surgery to correct this, the experience led the Balls to focus part of their philanthropy on facial abnormality research at UofL and through Operation Smile. 

In addition to making a difference through funding research, Ball has completed over 20 volunteer missions in China, Romania, Nicaragua, Vietnam and the Philippines.  When he is not traveling the globe to provide dental care in impoverished areas, he is providing free dental care at Good News Mission, a local homeless shelter in Indianapolis. 

Ball says his next few years will focus on opening and operating a dental clinic in Haiti. He, along with Craig and Andrea, will rotate to the country, establishing the practice. Eventually, he hopes a local dentist will help treat patients, along with other Indiana providers who may join in the effort through short-term mission trips.