Richard Oliver earned his degree in dentistry from the University of Minnesota in 1953. After completing military service and then pursuing further training, private practice, and an academic career in Southern California, Dr. Oliver returned to Minnesota to assume the deanship at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. He stepped down as dean in 1986, but continued on as a member of the faculty and became a visiting scientist at the NIH. He retired in 1996.
Dr. Oliver begins his interview with a reflection on his childhood, early education, and his pursuit of a career in dentistry. He then discusses his dental education at the University of Minnesota and his military service. Focusing more on his education and work experience, Dr. Oliver reviews the following: his time in private practice in Southern California; his time as a student at Loma Linda; his time as a professor at Loma Linda; his relationship with the periodontics program at USC; and his deanship at USC. Dr. Oliver then shifts to a discussion of his time as dean at the University of Minnesota and discusses the following topics: the beginning of preventive dentistry, faculty practice, changes in the dental clinics; dental education for rural and outstate practice; changes in dental hygiene; the implications of retrenchments; faculty research money; the tenures of the different vice presidents of the Academic Health Center; relationships within the AHC; Health Ecology in the Dental School; increasing emphasis on the patient in dentistry; the Dental School’s corporate relationships; and his reasons for stepping down as dean. He concludes his interview with a review of his work as a visiting scientist at the NIH, his decision to stay on as a faculty member at the University, Richard Elzay’s tenure as dean, his retirement, and the culture of Minnesota.
Richard Oliver was born on March 16, 1930 in Minneapolis, MN. He pursued a pre- dental program at Carleton College and earned his degree in dentistry from the University of Minnesota in 1953. He then completed a dental internship at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, CO in 1954 and served as a captain in the US Air Force Dental Corps from 1954 to 1957. After completion of his service, Dr. Oliver worked in private practice in Southern California from 1957 to 1959. During this time, he pursued studies of advanced dental education at USC from 1958 to1960. He then earned a master’s degree in periodontology from Loma Linda University (LLU) in 1962 and became a professor in periodontics at LLU, where he worked until 1975. From 1967 to 1968, Dr. Oliver was a Fulbright Research Professor at Royal Dental College in Denmark. Dr. Oliver left LLU in 1975 to become dean and professor of periodontics at the USC School of Dentistry. In 1977, Dr. Oliver assumed the deanship at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. He stepped down as dean in 1986, but continued on as a faculty member and became a visiting scientist at the NIH. He retired in 1996.