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“Bill” Feagans, a shutterbug who

loved landscape photography, was behind the camera in more ways than one at the school of Dental Medicine. During his 23-year ten- ure, he balanced the school’s clinical education and research mis- sions, building one of the nations best dental schoolsincluding the school in its present physical form in squire hall. he played a personal role in the lives and careers of its faculty, staff and stu- dents. in the words of one longtime faculty member, “he believed in the entrepreneurial spirit, the spirit of collegiality, and in dentistry as a modern art within the context of history.” when he died in april, he left a store of vivid memories. here are just a few.


Snapshots of Dean william M. feagans, DDS, phD

the human touch

who is that guy?

william r. Greiner uB president, 1990-2003;

university Professor, uB Law school

I vividly recall the first time I met Bill. There was a meeting of the deans to talk about how the university could continue to grow in the face of impending state funding reductions. I showed up as a young associate dean in the law school. I remember at one point during the meet- ing that one of the deans, who I didn’t recognize, stood up and said some very smart and perceptive things. Without be- ing obnoxious at all, he made important, bold statements, but put them out there in a funny, straightfor- ward manner that made everyone immediately comfortable and at ease. I was greatly impressed.

“Who is that guy?” I asked. Turns out it

was Bill Feagans, a name I would never forget. I still think of that moment at the meeting whenever I hear his name.

in on all the jokes

sebastian G. Ciancio, ’61 sunY Distinguished service Professor; chair, periodontics and endodontics

April Fools’ Day was one of Dean Fea- gans’ favorite “holidays,” because he loved being in on the faculty’s many and varied practical jokes. I was the target of more than one.

On one April 1, Russ Nisengard and I were summoned to Bill’s office. Bill looked very serious. He removed

his glasses and said, “I needed to see both of you because there


  • LEFt, FEaGans

  • PLaiD anD


have been complaints lately about your attitudes toward students.” He turned to me gravely. “Seb, I hear that you have been observed in the clinic, pinching a female student. What do you have to say?” I was dumbfounded, and protested that this had never, ever happened in any way, shape or form. He put his glasses back on, waited a beat and added, “Well, I also hear you’ve had similar engage- ments with male students, too…” and that was when he lost his composure, cracking a grin at his accomplice, Russ, smirking behind me. The jig was up.

Mentoring the mentors

Davis s. Garlapo, ’68 Professor, restorative dentistry

I was a young and very naive academic clinician at the start of my career when Bill assumed his position here in 1970. Having just received a DDS and being in the midst of specialty training in prostho-

10 ubdentist Summer 2009

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