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Dean Emeritus Ben Pavone Passes Away

January 19, 2014

Benjamin W. Pavone, DDS, 1916-2014Benjamin W. Pavone, DDS, Dean and Professor of the UCSF School of Dentistry, passed away on January 2, 2014, at the age of 97.

A member of the UCSF Dentistry faculty for 43 years, he graduated from UC Berkeley and the UCSF School of Dentistry in 1945, serving as Associate Dean of the school from 1955 to 1965, and as Dean from 1965 to 1980.

"A man of great personality" notes Associate Dean for Global Oral Health John S. Greenspan. "Determined, loyal, insightful, and fearless, actually.  In some ways, the school as we know it today is a product of his vision.  We have a lot to thank him for."

"He was the right man for the times" adds Emeritus Professor Troy E. Daniels, D'67, echoing the observation that Dean Pavone left his mark on the physical and academic environment of the UCSF School of Dentistry, yielding many benefits through the following decades. 

He was a dentist in the US Navy during World War II and the Korean War, and in addition to his academic activities he practiced dentistry privately in Berkeley from 1946 to 1986.

His teaching activities, as well as his private dental practice, were in the specialties of restorative dentistry.

He presented over 450 lectures and courses to dentists and dental organizations in the US and abroad, and for 30 years maintained a regular schedule of teaching dental students.

He held more than 50 positions in professional societies and organizations, including past president of the Academy of Restorative Dentistry, past president of Epsilon Alpha Dental Honor Society, and membership in the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society.

In 1981, he was among the inaugural recipients of the UCSF Dental Alumni Association's Medal of Honor for distinguished alumni.

In 1954, as Assistant Dean to Dean Willard Fleming, he was encouraged to develop a special postgraduate and continuing dental educational program for the school.  With little space available, he received permission from the Regents of the University of California to conduct a fund raising campaign to build a continuing dental education center, which was completed in 1964.

Now in its 50th year, the UCSF Continuing Dental Education program has been consistently rated as one of the best in the nation.  Dean Pavone felt that the presentation of quality continuing education programs has been one of the UCSF School of Dentistry's greatest services to its alumni, and the dental profession in general.

When he was appointed Dean of the UCSF School of Dentistry in 1965, his goals were to improve and expand the facilities and funding for faculty, students, staff and programs.  While Dean he increased total space for the school from 47,000 square feet to 167,000 square feet, including a new 67,000 square foot clinics building at 707 Parnassus Avenue, opened in 1980 and known today as the UCSF Dental Center.

Also included were a large expansion of research space, two new satellite dental clinics at Buchanan Street and San Francisco County Hospital, and the expansion and modernization of existing space, as well as the establishment of a faculty practice, the strengthening of the basic science program, the expansion of the Craniofacial Anomalies Program, and the substantial improvement of clinical training and clinic service.

Dean Pavone is survived by two step-children, Jodi Collins and Gary Dew, four grandchildren, Brent, Shellie, Karie and Dena; and nine great grandchildren.  He was predeceased by two children, Jean Wright and Gary Pavone; and his wife, Frances Pavone.

Funeral services were private.  Donations in his memory may be made to your charity of choice or the UCSF School of Dentistry at

Adapted from an obituary appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 19, 2014.


Dean Benjamin W. Pavone, DDS, in a portrait hanging at the entrance to the UCSF Dental Center


The UCSF School of Dentistry