“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 nation’s best dental schools—including 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
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