Donors received a first look at the new Kansas City University (KCU) College of Dental Medicine located on the Joplin campus during a hard hat tour on October 6, 2022. Founding Dean Linda C. Niessen, DMD, MPH, MPP, along with dental faculty, guided the tour and provided information on the building’s latest updates. Construction is projected to be complete by early summer 2023. To view live footage of ongoing construction, click here.
In one of the largest dental school fundraising efforts in the country, the University committed $40 million towards funding the project with the remainder from philanthropic efforts. Donations include $10 million from Harry M. Cornell Jr., $6 million from the Sunderland Foundation of Kansas City, $9 million from the Patterson Family Foundation of Kansas City, $2 million from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Ok. and a $10 million pledge from the Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance.
KCU held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the College of Dental Medicine on May 22, 2021. The date was significant to the Joplin community because it was the 10-year anniversary of the EF5 tornado that killed more than 160 people, left more than 1,150 injured, and underscored the need for broader health care services in the community. The destruction from the storm also included the fall of St. John’s Hospital. KCU’s Joplin campus is located at the site of St. John’s temporary hospital that was erected following the tornado.
“We are once again humbled to be part of the Phoenix that continues to rise since tragedy struck 10 years ago today," said Marc B. Hahn, DO, president and CEO. “We honor the determination and perseverance toward a common vision to make this city even stronger and more resilient."
The new college will address the significant and growing oral health needs of the four-state region of southwest Missouri, northwest Arkansas, northeast Oklahoma and southeast Kansas. The design was adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic for added safety measures and to address future public health concerns and disease transmission. It is estimated the College of Dental Medicine will generate a financial impact of $45 million annually, support more than 200 jobs, and generate at least $1.7 million in state and local taxes.
The first class of 80 students is projected to be seated in August of 2023. Learn how to apply to KCU CDM by clicking here.