On April 22, Henry “Mac” Young, D.D.S., a tenured associate professor, retired from the University of Florida College of Dentistry as an emeritus professor following 39 years of exemplary service.
“Dr. Young played a role in helping create a reputation for excellence in education, patient care and research for which the college is known throughout the United States. He has been a dedicated leader at UFCD and, while we will miss him, we’re happy he is enjoying a well-deserved retirement,” said Dean A. Isabel Garcia, D.D.S., M.P.H.
Young joined the college in 1981 as an assistant professor after spending several years working in private practice. He was promoted to associate professor in 1987, and in 2000 he moved to the Department of Operative Dentistry where he served as an associate professor.
Young earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1973 from UF and his dental degree from Emory University in Atlanta in 1977. He spent four years in private practice in Lake Butler and Alachua, Florida, before joining the college. Since that time, he has had an impact on thousands of students and colleagues in the college’s education and patient care and missions.
Deborah Dilbone, D.M.D., chair of the Department of Restorative Dental Sciences, delayed Young’s retirement ceremony hoping that the world would soon “settle down” but since COVID-19 instead decided to settle in, we gathered for a very small, socially distanced, masked celebration on October 8.
Young always treated dental students with kindness and respect, and was a very effective teacher, earning several awards for his educational abilities including the Outstanding Clinical Instructor Award in 1983, the Teacher of the Year Award in 1988, and both the Florida Dental Association’s Dental Educator Award and the UFCD Clinical Professor of the Year Award in 2008.
“Throughout his career he led efforts to support students’ clinical education experience. He collaborated with colleagues to transform the student dental centers with the creation of the college’s TEAM program in 1999, and a revision of the program in 2008,” Garcia said. “He has left an indelible mark on our college and we are deeply grateful for his service.”
From 2008 to 2010, Young served as interim chair of the Department of Operative Dentistry and then returned to a Team Leader role in 2010. During his time as interim chair, Young invested time and attention in his staff and faculty, working to ensure a humanistic culture and always serving as an advocate for the department. He assisted administration with several difficult transitions related to budget cuts following the 2008 economic issues within the state.
From 1981 to 2012, Young cared for patients in the college’s UF Health Faculty Dental Practice and, like all aspects of his career in the college, had a reputation for being thorough, thoughtful, compassionate and kind.
Dilbone first met Young when she was a dental student at UF, and then he became a colleague and a friend.
“Dr. Young has always been known for being fair and impartial with students, faculty and staff, as well as being very inclusive of everyone within the different divisions of our department,” Dilbone said. “He was also a ‘foodie’ before there was such a term and shared his love for food and cooking with everyone. He focuses on people, mentoring, serving, and building morale; he is a true servant leader.”
Young also participated extensively in college shared governance and accreditation activities over the years and helped educate practicing clinicians by leading courses offered through the UF Continuing Dental Education program. He was an active member of local, state, and national dental organizations including the Alachua County Dental Society, Florida Central District Dental Society, Florida Dental Association, American Dental Association, and American Association of Dental Schools.
Young is already enjoying his retirement spending his time with his wife, children, grandchildren and as much time as possible on Florida’s waterways! We will miss him.