The O’Leary/Hancock Professorship in Periodontics was awarded to Dr. Vanchit John, chair of the Department of Periodontology.
According to John Hoffman, IUSD assistant dean of development, about 15 years ago, when Dr. Brady Hancock was nearing retirement, he gathered with a group of IUSD colleagues who floated the idea of an honor in his name. Dr Hancock requested that his mentor’s name, Dr. Timothy O’Leary, also be attached to the Professorship.
Attending this meeting was faculty member Dr. Vanchit John, who later would become department chair and a full professor in Periodontology. Dr. John graduated from IUSD’s Periodontology program in 1995. He then earned his U.S. DDS at IUSD in 1998. Dr. John has served as chair of IUSD’s Department of Periodontology since 2008.
“To be named the first O’Leary/Hancock Professor in the department is quite surreal to me,” Dr. John said. “I came to IU Perio in 1992 when I joined the department as a first-year resident. Thirty-one years later, I am the endowed professor. That is an awesome responsibility and one I take very seriously. It crystallizes my journey and that of my family’s journey. We had to make many sacrifices along the way.
The IU Periodontology Alumni Association is made up of 273 graduates, some who have passed. Through direct donations or planned giving, they funded the entire endowed professorship. Along with the Professorship, the alumni also funded the graduate clinic renovations in 2008, demonstrating their stellar support for the program.
Dr. O’Leary was Periodontology department chair from 1973 to 1986. Under his guidance, IU's graduate program in periodontics developed into one of the most comprehensive in the country, attracting scholars from throughout the world. Dr. O’Leary was the only person to serve concurrently as American Academy of Periodontology president, chair of the specialty’s board, and editor of academy’s prestigious journal.
Dr. Brady Hancock served as a highly regarded IU Periodontology department chair from 1989 to 2007, adding the allied health programs in 1993. He is past president of the Indiana Society of Periodontists and mentored Dr. John.
“A legacy is an important part of any serious academic’s life and reputation,” Dr. John said. “Dr. Hancock was a very serious academic and did the best for IU Perio. It was important for him that his legacy would live on through the establishment of the Professorship, and he felt that Dr. O’ Leary gave IU Perio the national and global reputation that he built on during his time as head of the department. He wanted to ensure that the legacy of his mentor, Dr. O’Leary, would live on in perpetuity through the establishment of the Professorship in both their names.”