After a two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Orthodontics hosted an April 8 gathering to officially dedicate the Dr. Phillip M. Campbell Orthodontic Clinic in Texas A&M College of Dentistry’s Clinic and Education Building.
“This is a great day,” said Dr. Larry Tadlock, department head and program director, at the dedication. “We really wanted to do this, and this was truly the earliest time that we could make this happen.”
Campbell has been a driving force behind the department’s successes. After earning his dental degree in 1971 and master’s degree in orthodontics in 1973, he returned to his school to teach full time in 2005 after spending over three decades in private practice. He became the clinic director of orthodontics that year, followed by chair of the department in 2010, and was granted emeritus status in 2017 upon his retirement. In characteristic fashion, Campbell emphasized the department’s importance while downplaying his own.
“I really appreciate it, but this is not about me,” Campbell said in his remarks. “This is about the finest orthodontics department in the world. I have no doubt that it is. We want to keep it that way, but it’s going to require all of you residents to keep it going.”
Campbell was vital in the establishment of the Robert E. Gaylord Endowed Chair in Orthodontics, the Tom Matthews Lectureship in Orthodontics, and the Peter H. Buschang Endowed Chair for Orthodontic Research. He served on the Baylor College of Dentistry board of trustees and Baylor Oral Health Foundation board of directors and was an influential force in the merger of the college with The Texas A&M University System. In an interview, he also says he has made a planned bequest for another endowed chair for orthodontic research, named in honor of his daughter Kimberly Campbell.
“This school has allowed me a wonderful life over many years, so I’m loyal to the school and this department,” Campbell says.
Many speakers at the clinic dedication had worked alongside Campbell for many years. All praised his work ethic and dedication to the school.
“He held very high standards all of his practice life, and he did so with every organization in which he served,” Tadlock said. “It’s impossible to summarize 50 years of Dr. Campbell’s professional excellence and achievements in just the few minutes that we have.”
Dr. Peter Buschang, Robert E. Gaylord endowed chair and director of orthodontic research, emphasized Campbell’s friendship as well.
“Henry Ford once said, ‘My best friend is one who brings out the best in me,’” Buschang said. “A friend is also someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’ve done over the last 17 years without this guy, without his consistent support and his devotion to research. Dr. Campbell deserves this honor, because he’s my good friend.”
Campbell says that he loves the school and is honored by the clinic taking his name, though he emphasizes the importance of those who came before him. He explains that he initially wanted the clinic to be named after Robert Gaylord, a mentor and founder of the college’s orthodontics department, but Campbell’s colleagues convinced him to accept the honor.