The University of Washington School of Dentistry has announced the award of the David H. Wands Fellowship in Graduate Prosthodontics for 2017-18 to Dr. Jack Keesler.
Dr. Keesler is the 15th recipient of the $10,000 fellowship, which was established by Dr. Wands, a longtime member of the Graduate Prosthodontics faculty at the UW who is now retired. He created the fellowship endowment to support and inspire recipients to pursue an academic career, either full or part time, in prosthodontics education.
“If we don’t have teachers in the dental school, then we don’t have graduates. It’s that simple,” Dr. Wands has said.
Dr. Keesler, a native of Wisconsin, earned his DDS from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 2016 after receiving his BS in biological science there in 2012. He said that he decided on prosthodontics in part because of discussions with his uncle, a prosthodontist for whom he worked during high school.
“I thought this was the thing for me,” he said. “Prosthodontics is the most artistic specialty.” Dr. Keesler is also a painter who works in oils and watercolors and has had his work shown at a museum back home in Neenah, Wis.
“I was drawn to the UW Graduate Prosthodontics program because of my mentor at Marquette, Dr. Michael Waliszewski, who taught our denture course,” he said. Dr. Waliszewski, who received his prosthodontics certification from the UW in 2005, became the first Wands Fellow here in 2003. The fellowship was initially established at the University of Maryland in 1994.
“Also, the wonderful reputation of the program and the numerous skilled practitioners who have graduated from here were a big draw,” Dr. Keesler added.
Dr. Keesler said he has not yet made firm post-residency plans, but knows that he would like to teach at least part-time at Marquette or another dental school.
Dr. Wands, who was a UW School of Dentistry faculty member in the Department of Prosthodontics for 22 years, originally established the fellowship at the University of Maryland in 1994 in recognition of the shortage of dental school educators and to offer financial assistance to those interested in academic dentistry. In 1998, he launched a similar fellowship at the UW with a $500,000 commitment.
In 1967, Dr. Wands graduated with honors from the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery at the University of Maryland, and afterward served for seven years with the U.S. Public Health Service. He then returned to the University of Washington as a half-time faculty member and taught both undergraduate and graduate Prosthodontics, achieving the rank of Clinical Professor.
In addition to endowing the fellowship, Dr. Wands is a member of the UW School of Dentistry Dean’s Club and was instrumental in forming the UW Graduate Prosthodontic Alumni Association. In 1999, he was honored by the Dean’s Club with its highest award, Honorary Lifetime Member. He is a Life Member of the Academy of Prosthodontics and Pacific Coast Society for Prosthodontics.
Now retired from private practice in Olympia, Wash., he is an avid saltwater and freshwater fisherman as well as a master gardener.