Dental education has a long history in Louisiana, dating as far back as 1867. The LSUHSC School of Dentistry, established in 1966, followed on the heels of the Loyola University School of Dentistry, Tulane University School of Dentistry, the New Orleans College of Dentistry, and the New Orleans Dental College. LSUSD is the only dental school in the state and has educated 70% of the dentists practicing in Louisiana today.
Dr. Edmund E. Jeansonne, Dean of the former Loyola University School of Dentistry, was appointed founding Dean of the LSUHSC School of Dentistry. The school enrolled its first class of 30 students on September 3, 1968. The agreement called for Loyola University to phase out its school as the new LSUHSC School of Dentistry came into being year by year, and the last class of Loyola-trained dentists graduated in 1971. LSUSD graduated its first class of 27 dentists on June 3, 1972 and its first class of dental hygienists on June 1, 1974.
The LSUHSC School of Dentistry, located on a 22-acre tract of land on Florida Avenue and the banks of across Bayou St. John across from City Park, was acquired from the federal government. This property had served as a United States Navy housing development during World War II. Some of the 30-frame buildings on the site were renovated to accommodate a 60-student laboratory, a 15-unit clinic, classrooms, and administrative offices for faculty and support personnel. An adjacent barracks was also renovated to temporarily house the complete Loyola dental library collection that served as the nucleus for development of the LSUSD library.
A grant was obtained from the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to construct a permanent physical plant for the school. Formal dedication of the new school took place on Friday, February 18, 1972. The project cost $15,500,000, of which $5,000,000 were state funds. The 22-acre site on which the dental school now sits was named William Pitcher Plaza in honor of a Covington, Louisiana, educator who served as Chairman of the LSU Board of Supervisors at the time LSU acquired the site.
The LSUHSC School of Dentistry is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. The facility is one of the most advanced in the nation and houses outstanding basic science, preclinical, and clinical facilities.