Officials with Missouri Southern State University on Monday dedicated the W. Robert Corley Dental Hygiene Clinic in honor of a major donor.
The clinic, located in the Health Sciences Building, provides a learning environment and real-world experience for students in the dental hygiene care program, who are supervised by dental faculty members. It also offers preventive oral health care services, including cleanings and X-rays, for patients.
The dental hygiene program has been in place at Missouri Southern since 1975, and the clinic opened in the Health Sciences Building in August 2010, said Tia Strait, dean of the School of Health Sciences.
She said the program enrolls 30 students each fall at the Missouri Southern campus, with off-site programs in Rolla and Sikeston each enrolling 10 students and employing at least two full-time dental hygiene faculty members. She said program graduates boast a success rate of more than 90 percent in passing their national board exams on the first try.
Keli Goben, a senior from Columbus, Kan., said she enrolled in the dental hygiene program after touring it as a high school student and also quizzing her own hygienist about the career path. She plans to work in a general dentistry office after her May graduation from Missouri Southern.
As an upperclassman, Goben conducts a handful of patient appointments at the clinic each week, completing assessments or cleanings. She also has completed rotations with neighboring clinics.
“I feel like I am well prepared for my board exams and my career,” she said.
The clinic is named for Corley, who grew up in Columbus, Kan., and graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in business administration. After moving to Joplin, he opened the Duds Shop in 1951 and, later, the Attic and Accents on South Main Street. He also was involved with MSSU’s International Piano Competition.
Corley has previously donated to KXMS, Missouri Southern’s radio station, and the International Mission endowment. In 2008, he pledged a planned gift that will fund scholarships at the university in perpetuity.
“I didn’t graduate from Missouri Southern, but I’ve become so involved with the university that sometimes I feel like I did,” Corley said in a statement. “Education is important and Missouri Southern is important to the region, so I want to do my part to support it.”
The university named Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall in his honor several years ago.
MONDAY’S DEDICATION for the dental hygiene clinic honored another gift from W. Robert Corley to the university’s capital improvement fund. Interim President Alan Marble said the donation with go toward helping the university “keep up with changing technologies.”