On January 1, 2017, the dental world lost a man of great force. Robert Lee Vanarsdall, Jr, DDS, leaves behind a superb legacy of contributions to orthodontic medicine. As longtime friends of Dr Vanarsdall, we at Quintessence recognize the void his passing leaves in our community as well as the educational foundation he has provided for the next generation of students and clinicians.
Dr Vanarsdall received his DDS from the Medical College of Virginia in 1970. Afterward he pursued specialty certificates in both orthodontics and periodontics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Dr Vanarsdall stayed on at UPenn as a professor, where he taught for more than 40 years. He also served as Chairman of the Department of Periodontics, Department of Pediatric Dentistry and directed the Orthodontics program from 1981 to 2011. In 2012, he was honored with the Dale B. Wade Award for Excellence in Teaching by the American Board of Orthodontics. At the time of his passing, he served as the Assistant Dean for Development for Dental Specialties and Chairman Emeritus, Department of Orthodontics at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to his academic career, Dr Vanarsdall also maintained a private practice, where he continued to practice until his death.
The bibliography Dr Vanarsdall leaves behind is rich. He served as Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of Adult Orthodontics and Orthognathic Surgery for 17 years in addition to other editorial board commitments. His relationship with Quintessence includes the development in 1980 of the Continuing Dental Education series, a collaboration between Quintessence and the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, for which he authored Volume 2: Uprighting the Inclined Mandibular Molar in Preparation for Restorative Treatment. He coauthored the texts Applications of Orthodontic Mini Implants (Chicago: Quintessence, 2007) and Orthodontics: Current Principles and Techniques (St Louis: Mosby, 2017). He also published chapters in 12 other textbooks and over 100 scientific articles and abstracts. A worldwide lecturer, Dr Vanarsdall presented over 500 scientific lectures throughout his career.
Services were held January 5, 2017 at the St Thomas of Villanova Church on the Villanova University Campus in Villanova, Pennsylvania. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Dr Robert Vanarsdall Fellowship Fund at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Department of Orthodontics.