Dr. William Liljemark completed his undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota in 1963. He went on to complete his D.D.S. (1966) and his Ph.D. (1969) at the University as well. In 1971, he became a professor with a joint appointment in the University’s School of Dentistry and the Department of Microbiology. He served in several administrative positions within the School, including chairman and director of the Department of Diagnostic and Surgical Services and interim dean. Dr. Liljemark retired in 2005.
Dr. William Liljemark begins his interview with a reflection on his education and his pursuit of a career in dentistry. He then discusses the following in relation to the progression of his career: his time at the Forsyth Dental Center at Harvard University; his return to the University of Minnesota; and his administrative work. The interview transitions to the broader history of the School of Dentistry, including the following: the increasing emphasis on basic science research within dentistry; the periodontology, oral pathology, and orthodontics programs; research in the School; changes in the School’s curriculum and clinical practice; changes in the Dental Hygiene Program; relations between the School of Dentistry and the Medical School; the School as part of the AHC; differences between dentistry and medicine; the manpower and demographic problems in dentistry; the deanships of Erwin Schaeffer, Richard Oliver, and Richard Elzay; the culture of the school; efforts to admit women and minorities; committees in the Graduate School; and relations with the State Legislature. Dr. Liljemark concludes his interview with comments on the need for evidence-based dentistry and student research.
Dr. William Liljemark was born on December 1, 1941. He grew up in South Minneapolis and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1959. He then graduated from University of Minnesota in 1963 and pursued graduate studies in the School of Dentistry’s joint D.D.S-Ph.D. program. Dr. Liljemark earned his D.D.S. in 1966, completed his specialty training in orthodontics in 1968, and earned his Ph.D. in microbiology in 1969. Dr. Liljemark then pursued a Career Development Award, which allowed him to work with Dr. Ronald J. Gibbons in the Forsyth Dental Center at Harvard University from 1970 to 1971. He returned to the University of Minnesota on a joint appointment in the Dental School and in the Department of Microbiology. Dr. Liljemark served as director of the School’s Graduate Program from 1979 to 1988. In 1988, Dr. Liljemark became chairman and then division director of the Department of Diagnostic and Surgical Services. He also served as interim dean and as interim associate dean for academic affairs for the Dental School. Dr. Liljemark retired in 2005.