Four inducted into Hall of Fame

May 20th, 2022

The four newest Hall of Fame Award recipients (L to R): Dr. Franklin Eggleston, accepted by Sara Eggleston; Dr. Frank Higginbottom; Dr. Ronald Woody, accepted by Jan Triplett; and Prof. Leeanna Bartlett.

Texas A&M College of Dentistry celebrated four new Hall of Fame inductees at a ceremony on May 4, marking the 40th anniversary of the college’s premier award.

Dr. Franklin Eggleston, Dr. Ronald Woody, Professor Leeanna Bartlett and Dr. Frank Higginbottom were honored for going above and beyond in their work and dedication to the school. The event occurred at the new Hall of Fame display on the Main Building’s 6th floor, also the site of the recently completed history wall.

“I’ve only been leading the dental college since last November,” Dr. José Bermúdez, acting dean, said at the ceremony. “However, it didn’t take me long to gain an indelible appreciation for the college’s rich history and the pride it elicits in all those who have been connected to it.”

Eggleston, posthumously recognized, demonstrated loyalty and care to his profession and school over his decades of service. Eggleston was a member of the 1971 class of Baylor College of Dentistry, was a past president of the Alumni Association and a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award. He also was president of numerous professional organizations, including the Greater Houston Dental Society and the Texas Dental Association. He served, among many other organizations, on the Baylor College of Dentistry board of trustees and the Baylor Oral Health Foundation board of directors. He also served his country as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He passed away last year.

Dr. Frank Higginbottom speaking at the Hall of Fame Award ceremony. Higginbottom was a driving force behind the creation of the college’s new history wall, which is installed across from the Hall of Fame display.

Woody, posthumously recognized, joined the dental school in 1984 and helped develop the graduate program in prosthodontics. He established the implant dentistry predoctoral program in 2005 and served as the director of the Implant Dentistry Clinic, which allowed students to experience the treatment of implant dentistry and restoring implants. He served at the helm of several organizations, including the American College of Prosthodontists and its foundation. Prior to joining the college, he served 21 years in the U.S. Army, retiring with the rank of colonel. Woody retired in 2013 after a 30-year career in dental education, and he passed away in 2019.

Bartlett was an assistant professor and director of social services for the college from 1982 until her retirement in 2020. She helped coordinate community service events for the D3 and D4 classes. She also worked with the Preceptor Program and coordinated events at North Garland High School and the dental school campus for students interested in health care careers. Bartlett looked for every opportunity to give a hand up to less fortunate patients, such as arranging oral cancer screening clinics, events at senior citizen centers, or even learning sign language to help deaf patients. She joins her father, Dr. J.B. Hooker, in the Hall of Fame; he was inducted in 2001.

Two attendees of the Hall of Fame luncheon look over the school’s new history wall.

Higginbottom is a 1971 alumnus of the college, graduating with honors including the silver medal. After establishing a successful private practice post-graduation, he returned to the school’s faculty in restorative sciences and graduate prosthodontics. He has served the dental community as a fellow of the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists and the Academy of Osseointegration. He has also been a Dallas County Dental Society Dentist of the Year and is a distinguished alumnus of both the University of Oklahoma and Texas A&M College of Dentistry. He has served as a trustee on the Baylor Oral Health Foundation and president of the college’s alumni association, president of the Dallas County Dental Society and the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry, among many other leadership roles.

“I’m honored to say that I’ve known each of the individuals recognized today for many years,” said Susan Jackson, executive director of marketing and communications, during the ceremony. “Each of them is truly deserving of the Hall of Fame award.”

Higginbottom also spoke at the event, adding, “It’s meant so much to me to be involved with all of you. It’s been important to know you’re here to support the college; that means a whole lot to us who respect the history and where we came from. Thank you so much.”

— Caleb Vierkant