Obituary: Dr. Mellor Holland, longtime associate dean of 'U' School of Dentistry, dies at 79

  • Article by: TRUDI HAHN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 17, 2003 - 11:00 PM

Dr. Mellor Holland, retired associate dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, died Wednesday at his Minnetonka home. He was 79 and had been in ill health for years.

Holland, who also was the dentistry school's historian, served as dean of dental students in his post as associate dean from 1950 to 1994. The popular professor related well to the students, said his wife, Maxine.

"Even now, 50-year-old men come up to me and say, 'Oh, I remember the time I came out to your house for dinner,' " she said.

Holland helped in the movement to recruit more women into dentistry in the 1970s. At the time, only 1.2 percent of U.S. dentists were women, compared with figures of 80 percent in Russia and 75 percent in Norway, according to a dental trade magazine.

"It hasn't been a matter of discriminating against women, but we hadn't made any positive moves in the past to encourage them," Holland said in 1972.

In the late 1960s, he also helped in the drive to replace the 1930s medical science building that housed the School of Dentistry, his wife said. He led seven years of night and weekend planning work; the 20-story building was completed in March 1975.

Holland, an oral surgeon who joined the faculty in 1948, served as acting dean from 1963 to 1964, while a search committee sought a successor for an ailing dean who had resigned.

From 1970 to 1988, Holland edited Minnesota Dentistry, a monthly publication of the Minnesota Dental Association, and in 1993, he published "A History of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry: 1888-1988."

"The people at the school call it 'the bible' " because they know it's comprehensive and accurate, his wife said.

In addition to his wife, survivors include daughters Kristine de Juniac of London; Cynthia Browne of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Elizabeth Lewis of Hillsborough, Calif.; a son, David of Eden Prairie; 11 grandchildren, and a brother, Hartley of Minneapolis.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Wayzata Community Church, Wayzata.

--Staff Writer Margaret Zack contributed to this article.

Trudi Hahn is at thahn@startribune.com.

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