A Brief History of the College of Diplomates
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A Brief History of the College of Diplomates

In 1964, 15 years following the first examination given by the American Board of Pedodontics and with 118 pediatric dentists certified, the College of Diplomates was organized. The first breakfast meeting of the Diplomates was held September 1, 1964 in the Chase-Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. The first slate of officers was elected: President Norman Olsen, President-Elect Robert Andrews, Vice President Charles Boyers and Secretary Paul Starkey. The first annual breakfast meeting of the Association of Pedodontic Diplomates was held on November 4, 1965 in the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada at which time the Constitution and By-laws were approved.

The following objectives of the Association taken from Article 11 of the Constitution were approved: The objectives of this Association shall be the advancement and the science and practice of Pedodontics through mutual cooperation and study, support of the objectives of the American Board of Pedodontics and the encouragement of candidates for the Board Examination.

Ever since the organization of the College, a meeting has been held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. This provides an opportunity for Diplomates to meet others, become acquainted and exchange information. It also provides an opportunity for new Diplomates to be introduced and congratulated on their accomplishments of board certification.

Following a proposal by Dr. Samuel D. Harris to form a foundation for the College, the College of Diplomates Foundation was incorporated in 1984. Dr. Harris made significant monetary gifts to place the Foundation on a sound financial basis and in 1986 the first of the yearly symposiums was presented: "An Evaluation of the Criteria Used to Determine Arch Perimeter Problems" by speaker Robert M. Little, DDS. The scholarly paper presented to the plenary session and the results of the workshop were published in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry to provide the information to all members of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The journal publication of the symposium plenary session has continued over the years.

In 1986 the College's name was changed from the Association of Pedodontic Diplomates to the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. After nearly 50 years of existence, the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry can be proud of its accomplishments. It has faithfully met its objectives through the dedication and hard work of its members, with virtually every one of them contributing in some fashion.

Source: History 1963-1990 College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry

Paul E. Starkey, DDS
Professor Emeritus
Indiana University


History of "The Gavel"

It is a design as unique as the human dentition itself -- a presidents' gavel treasured by the College of Diplomates (COD) of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.  The gavel has not only become an integral part of COD history but a remembrance of past presidents.  It memorializes their names and sparks recollections of their contributions to the College and the evolution of the practice of pediatric dentistry as a specialty.

The rap of the gavel has signaled a familiar opening and closing for most COD Annual Meetings since 1973, when Edward Hibbard, DDS was COD president.  Dr. Hibbard  was an Emory Dental School academician at the time.  It was he who designed the original gavel in his down basement workshop and introduced it as an historical symbol. "The COD should have a gavel that is special with a place for the name of each individual who has the honor of serving as president,” he said.  This tradition has continued ever since.  Since 1990, a replica miniature gavel, hand crafted by Dr. Jerry Miller, has been presented to outgoing presidents of the COD as a memento of their service to the organization.

Its shape is unlike any traditional hammer-style gavel. It boasts multiple and unusual angles with plenty of room for inscriptions of past presidents' names. Fifty names have been engraved on the gavel as of 2015. 

Those who have a chance to admire the gavel in person, agree that is a valuable artifact holding a special place in COD and pediatric dental history.  To reflect on the fact that each of those great names in pediatric dentistry held the gavel as they led the COD has been described as inspiring and humbling -- and a proud tradition.   

By Jerome B. Miller, DDS., MSD
Life Member, College of Diplomates, American College of Pediatric Dentistry