Edmund G. Brodie Research Professorship in Dentistry

Edmund G. Brodie Research Professorship in Dentistry

The Edmund G. Brodie (D.D.S.’43/D), endowed professorship encourages and promotes research and education focused on infectious, neoplastic, and genetic diseases of the oral cavity, and of the head and neck.

Edmund G. Brodie – “The Poor Man’s Dentist”

Reflections from his children:

Born in Henderson, North Carolina, in 1917, Edmund G. Brodie was only 10 when his father, a farmer, died. (Though our grandfather did not attend college, one of his goals in life was to make sure that all of his children would go to college.)

Dad was the youngest of five children. With his family’s help, he was able to go to dental school. Coming from a Scottish heritage, he was very thrifty and told the story of his father giving his mother $100 to go to town. When she would come back home with the same $100, he was very proud of her not buying anything.

Dad grew up during the depression and considered himself very lucky because they always had enough to eat from the farm although they didn't have much else. He thought of himself as the “poor man’s dentist” and occasionally would barter his services for those who couldn’t afford the price of dental care. He practiced for more than 50 years – well into his ‘70s.

He was very generous when it came to medical expenses. He told the story of having very bad stomach pain when he was only six years old. He cried for days on end until a doctor in town said that he had appendicitis and needed an operation right away. Our grandfather did not trust the local surgeon, so he sent for a surgeon from Raleigh, North Carolina, to catch an overnight train and travel 40 miles to operate on Dad. The surgeon charged $1,000, which was big money back in 1924.

Dad learned to be very thrifty with material objects, but not if money was needed for education or medical treatment. For these he was very generous.

Our father believed very strongly in education and helping others. He believed he received a good education at the school of dentistry. Two of his sons followed in the medical profession through MCV. Our family was impressed with the advancements and growth of the dental school and felt it fitting to donate money to the school because dentistry was the profession our father chose and loved.