James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine names first endowed chair

June 07, 2023
Seven people pose for a photo. A woman seated in front is wearing a blue top. Behind her are a woman in a bright pink dress, a tall man in a suit, a woman in tan and black, a man wearing a turban and two men in bow ties.
From left: Kathy Cole, President David Cole, Provost Lisa Saladin, Dental Medicine Dean Dr. Sarandeep Huja, Dr. Martin Steed and Dr. James Lemon join Ann Edwards (seated), at a May 25 reception. Photo by Sarah Pack

Despite unusually cooler May temperatures and overcast skies, a large crowd cheerfully gathered in the lobby of the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine’s Dental Clinic Building. Guests from all over the Palmetto State assembled to honor the memory of a beloved leader and celebrate his legacy with the announcement of Martin Steed, D.D.S., as the James B. Edwards Endowed Chair in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery – the college’s first endowed chair. 

Steed, an oral surgeon and chief of the Division of Surgical Services & Applied Technology in the CDM, came to MUSC in 2013 from Emory University School of Dentistry where he completed his dental internship and residency training before joining as a faculty member. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated leadership and service in multiple capacities, working in numerous university and professional specialty organizations.

A man wearing round glasses and a bow tie laughs while facing a woman with white hair whose back is to the camera. 
Dr. Martin Steed, first Endowed Chair of the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine, shares a laugh with Dr. Patricia Blanton, former interim dean for the college at a reception announcing the new chair. Photo by Sarah Pack

MUSC Board of Trustees chairman James Lemon, D.M.D., greeted the crowd composed of current and former dental medicine faculty and staff members, students and guests for this celebration. Special guests included Ann D. Edwards, former MUSC first lady, and members of the Edwards family.

“Just last week, I had the privilege to address the Class of 2023’s dental graduating class at the school’s hooding ceremony,” said Lemon. “And here we are again with another reason to smile. James B. Edwards was many things to me – a statesman, civil servant, proud husband, father and grandfather and MUSC president – a man of high intellect who happened to be an oral maxillofacial surgeon. It’s that passion for oral surgery that led him and his lovely half, Ann, to create this lasting resource for oral surgery. Today, we honor Dr. Edwards’ legacy and offer our warmest thanks and affection to Mrs. Edwards for her endless dedication to MUSC throughout the years.”

As the sole dental school in South Carolina, MUSC is considered a national leader in oral surgery and part of the national safety net in this field. Patients are referred to MUSC’s dental experts from all over the state and country for complex procedures. 

A man wearing a suit and tie and a woman who is also in dress clothes stand in front of a brick building bearing the words James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine. 
MUSC President Emeritus Dr. James B. Edwards and wife, Ann Edwards, at the dedication of the new dental clinical building and celebration of the college’s renaming in February 2010. Photo by Anne Thompson

MUSC President David Cole, M.D., FACS, and first lady Kathy Cole joined Lemon; Dental Medicine Dean Sarandeep Huja, D.D.S., Ph.D.; executive vice president for Academic Affairs and provost Lisa Saladin, P.T., Ph.D.; and others for the May 25 event.

“The legacy and culture that you and Jim have built at MUSC not only benefits the College of Dental Medicine but for us as an enterprise and institution. It’s been foundational for us in who we are currently and what we envision for us as we move into the future. The challenges that you’ve forged together when you took on the leadership role of this enterprise years ago was fundamentally so different and challenging. You basically gave us the will to say that we can, and we will. I want to thank you for creating that legacy,” said Cole. 

“The James B. Edwards Endowed Chair in Oral Maxillofacial Surgery is a natural next step to support leadership in a highly advanced area of specialization to literally change what’s possible in oral health care. MUSC has been a leader in dental education and oral surgery. Patients are referred here from all over the nation for expertise, caring and impact for those we serve. Congratulations Dr. Steed for being selected for this prestigious honor. I know you have and will continue to do great things for the college and for MUSC.”

Saladin explained the importance and history of endowed chairs in academia, which originate back to ancient Rome, to guests. 

“The endowed chair is the most prestigious honor that can be bestowed on any faculty member at any institution of higher learning and is the highest accolade that can be presented and is also a hallmark of prominent universities and colleagues,” said Saladin. “Unlike an administrative chair, an endowed chair is specifically given the gift of being recognized for being outstanding in their area and the gift of the donor goes toward the interest of that gift to support that faculty member and their area of expertise – allowing them to grow and excel, and in this case, the area of maxillofacial surgery at MUSC.” 

Saladin added that an endowed chair not only elevates the holder, but in this case, honors the person, or persons, they’re named after in perpetuity. 

“Mrs. Edwards, with this most recent gift, you have truly committed another legacy for those of us here and those who follow us – faculty, students and staff – in the future to remember your beloved husband and you for many, many years to come. Thank you for all the things you do."

For Mrs. Edwards, this day marks a milestone for her and her family. According to Huja, the CDM dean, the endowed chair naming Steed was approved by the MUSC board back in February of 2021. But due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration was postponed until this time. This inaugural James B. Edwards Endowed Chair in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery complements the Ann Darlington Edwards Endowed Chair in Nursing that was established in honor of the former MUSC first lady and stateswoman back in March of 1997. 

A tall young man in a cost and tie stands with an older woman who is wearing blue and smiling. 
Dr. Bryan Wingate and his grandmother, Ann Edwards, pose in front of a photo of Ann and her late husband, Dr. James B. Edwards. Photo by Sarah Pack

“Today is a special day,” she said. “Hearing the history and importance of an endowed chair, I’m reminded that there have been so many people who have made great contributions to our goal of educating and training dentists. I’m here to honor Dr. Steed, and we’re so fortunate to have him. He’s internationally known for his expertise and has helped bring us closer to the college’s goals. Thank you for your leadership, and I am delighted with you named in this endowed chair. I look forward to seeing where we go from here. It’s all of you who have made this happen. And if Jim were here, I know he’d say, ‘Mama, I’m so proud.’ Thank you for making it happen and for continuing to teach our future dentists. They can look back and know that they came from a fine institution with the best education and leadership. It’s the best because of all of you. I’m so very proud of each of you.”

Steed was humbled and inspired by the crowd’s response, support and enthusiasm. He explained that a portion of the endowed chair will provide funding to recruit a fellowship-trained craniofacial surgeon to provide cutting-edge expertise and training to patients, faculty and residents. 

A dedicated educator and scholar, mentor and active researcher, Steed has authored numerous publications, articles and textbooks. He’s received grants as a principal investigator and has collaborated with colleagues, predoctoral students and residents. Steed is director of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and slated to serve a progressive term as president of the board from 2028-2029.

“This is an incredibly exciting moment for the college, and we owe it all to Dr. and Mrs. Edwards. As I reflect around MUSC’s campus, and seeing what we do and offer to patients, I see examples of your vision all around. To think that it’s still gaining momentum is an incredible testament to you and Dr. Edwards’ leadership and love for this University. As we’re gathered in this Dental Clinical Building where we see and treat patients and work with students and staff in the lab and clinic every day, we owe what we have to you both for your steadfastness. This already is an example of a chair that has already paid out in dividends. My pledge is to aspire plans that are equal to your vision so that it becomes a reality here in South Carolina. Thank you again to MUSC’s leadership and Mrs. Edwards, for your support,” said Steed.

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