The Shapiro Family Charitable Foundation has made a $1 million pledge to the UCLA School of Dentistry for the establishment of the Dr. No-Hee Park Endowed Chair in Dentistry to honor the school's dean and foster excellence in research and scholarship in biomedical and dental science.
The endowed professorship, which is intended to support the teaching and research activities of a distinguished faculty member at the dental school, will be held by the chair of the school's division of oral biology and medicine.
The Park Chair is the latest gift to UCLA from Ralph and Shirley Shapiro, UCLA alumni with a long history of generous service and philanthropy to the campus, as well as to charitable organizations throughout Los Angeles and the United States.
"No-Hee Park has made significant advances in our understanding of cancer biology, and for 10 years, he has provided exemplary service as dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry," said Ralph Shapiro. "My wife, Shirley, and I agree that the best way to honor his contributions is to support, in a lasting manner, the scholarship of another outstanding faculty member leading the field of dental medicine research."
"I am deeply moved that Shirley and Ralph Shapiro have chosen to create this chair and to do so in my name," Park said. "The Shapiros are legendary UCLA leaders and philanthropists. This is the most significant honor of my career."
Shirley and Ralph Shapiro received bachelor's degrees from UCLA in 1959 and 1953, respectively, and Ralph earned a J.D. from the law school in 1958. Since obtaining their degrees, the Shapiros have been credited with more than $24 million in gifts to various UCLA initiatives, including scholarships for dental students. A prominent campus landmark, the Shirley and Ralph Shapiro Fountain at the top of Janss Steps, was named in recognition of the couple's longstanding commitment to the university.
The Shapiros are very active participants in the campus community. Shirley serves on the boards of directors of Women & Philanthropy and the Royce Center Circle and on the board of visitors of UCLA's School of the Arts and Architecture. Ralph, who is chairman of Avondale Investment Partners, is a longtime member of the board of directors of The UCLA Foundation and also serves on the board of advisors of the UCLA School of Law, the executive board of UCLA Medical Sciences and the advisory board of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. In addition, he serves on the boards of directors of the United Cerebral Palsy Research and Education Foundation and the Spastic Children's Endowment Foundation and is a trustee of the Scripps Research Institute.
The Shapiros have three children. Their son Peter William Shapiro currently serves as the president of the Shapiro Family Charitable Foundation.
No-Hee Park holds the titles of dean and distinguished professor of dentistry at the UCLA School of Dentistry and the title of distinguished professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Born in Korea, he received his D.D.S. degree from Seoul National University in 1968 and completed postgraduate training in periodontics in 1971. He earned a Ph.D. in pharmacology from the Medical College of Georgia in 1978, completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School in 1980 and earned a D.M.D. degree from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 1982.
Park joined the faculty of the UCLA School of Dentistry in 1984 and has served as the director of the Dental Research Institute and as associate dean for research. Named dean of the school in 1998, he was appointed for a third term in 2006 and is the longest-serving dean in the dental school's history.
Under Park's leadership, the school has emerged as a research-intensive institution that currently ranks fifth among U.S. dental schools in funding by the National Institutes of Health. During the past 10 years, Park eliminated a deficit, stabilized student clinic operations and increased the school's budget from $35 million in fiscal year 1998 to $65 million in fiscal year 2007. His successful fundraising efforts have yielded numerous renovations, six endowed chairs for the recruitment and retention of world-class faculty members, and more than $17 million in endowed funds. In fall 2008, Park's administration implemented a new D.D.S. curriculum designed to improve the integration of basic and clinical sciences and promote student leadership.
In addition to serving in an administrative capacity, Park is a world-renowned scientist in the area of oral and head and neck cancer research and is credited with more than 150 publications in distinguished scientific journals. He has trained more than 100 research students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting faculty members during the past 25 years, many of whom are now faculty members of dental schools, medical schools and colleges of life sciences in the United States, Europe and Asia.
Park, the recipient of a Distinguished Scientist Award from the International Association for Dental Research, was named by Seoul National University as an alumnus of the year in 2007.
The Dr. No-Hee Park Endowed Chair in Dentistry, the seventh endowed professorship for the dental school, is part of a 10-year campaign to increase the school's endowment by $30 million to ensure its continued financial stability and success.
The UCLA School of Dentistry is dedicated to improving the oral health of the people of California, the nation and the world through its teaching, research, patient care and public service initiatives. The school provides education and training programs that develop leaders in dental education, research, the profession and the community; conducts research programs that generate new knowledge, promote oral health and investigate the cause, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral disease; and delivers patient‑centered oral health care to the community and state. For more information, visit www.dentistry.ucla.edu.
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 323 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize. For more news, visit the UCLA Newsroom.