Grogan wraps revered career

Colleagues have nothing but praise for oral surgery lead
September 25th, 2019

When Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery faculty and staff members speak of Dr. David Grogan ’81, ’86, words like “wonderful person” and “great guy” roll off their tongues. Grogan retired Aug. 31 as associate professor and department head after 20 years at Texas A&M College of Dentistry.

His unselfish leadership, thoughtfulness and dedication to teaching rank high on the list of his most-appreciated attributes, say colleagues. This two-time Teacher of the Year made his mark, with students describing him as a “great instructor and mentor” and “awesome lecturer.”

“He is a very gifted teacher and one of the favorites of all the students,” says Dr. Gil Triplett, professor and interim department head of oral and maxillofacial surgery. “He has always been very concerned for the students’ well-being. He had one of the heaviest teaching loads in the school, in my opinion.”

In an article about his 2010 Teacher of the Year recognition, Grogan cited two goals as an educator: professionalism derived through staying current, and instruction presented in an enthusiastic and non-demeaning manner. He said this includes prompting students to problem solve and become engaged with the subject.

“It is truly an honor to be entrusted with educating our next generation of dental professionals,” Grogan said. His annual teaching load included 87 hours of lecture in 10 different courses, 72 hours of lab instruction and 430 hours of clinical teaching.

Dr. Michael Ellis ’85, ’93, ’97, clinical associate professor in oral and maxillofacial surgery, praises Grogan’s administrative skills, describing him as “the voice of reason,” and credits him for creating a pleasant work environment.

“He’s a bridge builder who finds a way to get to the other side of a problem, keeping in mind what’s best for the institution,” says Ellis. “As department head, he has made sure other people are empathetic and here for the right reasons; to take care of people.

“On a personal note, he is one of the kindest, most trusting, giving and generous people I’ve met. I’m going to miss him.”

Darlene Amos, lead office associate, has known Grogan since he was the senior resident in 1985, the year she joined the college.

“He knows how to treat people,” she says. “He’s so kind and does nice things for the staff in our department. It’s something he thinks to do.”

Grogan’s career included elected offices in both the certifying board and national professional association for his specialty. He is a past president of the Texas Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, North Texas Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Southwest Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and Central Texas Dental Society.

Grogan’s national reputation amplifies his popularity as a continuing education course presenter; he has delivered more than 100 professional presentations throughout the state and nation.

The one thing Grogan won’t miss: commuting 200 miles roundtrip from Waco, Texas, to the dental school, which took a toll on his odometer.

“I had a second car pass 400,000 miles recently,” he says. In his new retirement status, Grogan looks forward to “travel, golf and disappearing from Texas in the summer.”

— Carolyn Cox