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Bigham & Seale inducted into Hall of Fame

On Jan. 20, Dr. N. Sue Seale and Robert J. Bigham Jr. received crystal awards in recognition of their induction to the HSC-Baylor College of Dentistry Hall of Fame. Seale is a Regents Professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, and Bigham serves as president and treasurer of the Baylor Oral Health Foundation.

Dr. James S. Cole, HSC-BCD dean, presented the awards - the college's highest honor - during a luncheon in College Station, Texas, prior to the Health Science Center's academic convocation. The Hall of Fame award recognizes individuals who have contributed distinguished service to the college and/or the dental profession.

Since March 1981, the college has bestowed the honor on 30 individuals, whose portraits are displayed in the Hall of Fame Gallery in the Richard E. Bradley Continuing Education Center on the sixth floor of the college.

Pediatric dentist leads with compassion

Dr. Suzi SealeCurricular innovation, quality scientific inquiry, exemplary service to the profession, model professional behavior and service as an ambassador for HSC-BCD are just a few of the qualities cited as reasons for Seale's nomination to the Hall of Fame. 

"Dr. Sue Seale has unselfishly dedicated her entire professional life to the college, its students and its improvement. Her accomplishments and impact are profound," this nominator commented.

Seale joined the college's pediatric dentistry faculty in 1974, two years after completing its pediatric dentistry graduate program. In 1986 she became professor and chair of the pediatric dentistry department, a post she retained until 2009. For 17 years, she also directed the graduate program in pediatric dentistry, which remains one of the most highly regarded and competitive in the country. 

In addition to serving on the HSC-BCD faculty, she was director of dental services at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and chair of the Department of Dentistry at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, posts she held for 23 years. She is a past president of the Texas Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Seale has dedicated her life's work to education. She introduced the use of the Objective Structured Clinical Examination, commonly known as OSCE, to HSC-BCD.  Her success with this hands-on assessment method, which evaluates data-interpretation and problem-solving skills - resulted in numerous invitations to speak throughout the United States and abroad.  

A prolific clinical researcher, the quality of her scientific inquiry is documented by the volume of peer-reviewed publications she has authored and the numerous research awards received by her former residents.

Seale was named 2001 Pediatric Dentist of the Year by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Foundation and received the Merle C. Hunter Leadership Award in 2002. In 1997, she received the Baylor College of Dentistry Distinguished Alumni award. That same year she brought honor to HSC-BCD as the college's first successful Regents Professor nominee. She is a fellow of the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists. 

Foundation president serves dental school for quarter-century

Mr. Robert J. Bigham, Jr.

One of HSC-BCD's most devoted supporters, Bigham has served the dental school in various capacities for more than 26 years. He has held his current position with Baylor Oral Health Foundation since 2000 and served as a member of the foundation's board of directors for four years prior to that.

The nomination form in support of Bigham referenced the "... absolute fidelity and bond he has given to this responsible position ..." as just one of many reasons for advocating him for this prestigious honor. 

"He possesses a devotion to the college which far exceeds his engaged position as president of the BOHF," said this nominator. "Bob Bigham is an unsung hero in my book."

Prior to the dental school's merger with The Texas A&M University System in 1996 - while Baylor College of Dentistry was an independent dental school - Bigham served on the college's board of trustees from 1986 to 1995. He was a key player during the deliberations that preceded the dental school's decision to seek affiliation with the A&M System.

Bigham's vocation as a successful banker and his considerable civic experience prepared him to play a prominent role in the dental school's progress through the years. Under his diligent and devoted stewardship at the foundation, the college has added a new Center for Maxillofacial Prosthodontics, a Dental Simulation Laboratory and a new Sciences Building, among many other improvements.

His contributions in the greater Dallas community are far reaching.  As past director and past chairman of the Salesmanship Club of Dallas Foundation he has supported the HP Byron Nelson Championship for many years.  He served the Dallas Opera as director of the Finance committee and on the corporate development committee.  Other civic engagements include service on the development board of the Dallas Museum of Natural History, United Way of Dallas and Richardson, and numerous leadership roles with the Lions Club, The YWCA and the YMCA.

Bigham also helped facilitate the college's receipt of more than $1.3 million in support from the Crystal Charity Ball organization benefiting dental care for children in underserved communities.