When Dr. Gordon Macdonald talks about his days at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine he vividly and fondly recounts his time with Dr. Roy O. Greep. Greep served as dean of the School from 1952 to 1967.
“He was a very unique individual, a caring person, and father-figure to many of us,” Macdonald said.
Macdonald’s connection to Greep, would lead to a remarkable career, and a lifelong connection to HSDM. Macdonald first met the well-known endocrinologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a postdoctoral student. In 1963, Greep invited Macdonald to join his research group at Harvard. The opportunity allowed Macdonald, a researcher in endocrinology and reproductive biology, to expand his academic career through associations with scientists of similar interests at Harvard and other institutions.
“My experience at Harvard set me up for a career in academics that I could only dream about,” Macdonald said.
Macdonald spent ten years at HSDM conducting research with Dean Greep and Dr. David Armstrong. He also taught anatomy and histology at Harvard Medical School, and spent four years studying the reproductive biology of primates at the New England Regional Primate Center. In 1973, Macdonald left Harvard to become a professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. However, he would never forget his connection to Harvard and to his mentor, Dean Greep.
The Macdonalds have supported the work of HSDM for many years contributing to the Roy O. Greep Fund and others. Recently they decided to make a $2,000,000 planned gift that will establish an assistant or associate professorship in their memory.
“My wife, Ruth and I believe in the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and its mission,” Macdonald said.
Macdonald credits Harvard with his ability to give a gift of this size. “At the age of 29 I had to start thinking about retirement, and the Harvard retirement plan started me on my way.” The financial success of their retirement funds enabled the Macdonald’s to make the generous gift.
“We are truly grateful to have friends like the Macdonalds whose extraordinary generosity and vision demonstrates their commitment to the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and its future,” said Dean Bruce Donoff. “The funding for this professorship ensures the School will continue to attract talented educators and researchers for many years to come.”
“Harvard is a unique institution that strives to be, and is among the best in the world,” said Macdonald. “Its scientific and medical program is supported by a strong financial business practice. We feel our gift will be managed well by this entity and our gift will perpetuate the Harvard School of Dental Medicine’s mission in its education and scientific adventure.”
Read this story and others in the spring issue of the Harvard Dental Bulletin.