Dr. William McHugh Dies at 93

Oct. 10, 2022
black and white portrait of Dr. William McHugh
Dr. McHugh was Eastman Dental Center director for 24 years.

Dr. William McHugh, who served as the director of Eastman Dental Center from 1970-1994, has passed away. He was 93.

Dr. McHugh, who also served as professor and associate dean for Dental Affairs at the University of Rochester, was born in England, grew up in Scotland and graduated from St. Andrew's University Dental School in 1950. After two years' service as a Dental officer in the Royal Air Force, he embarked on a career combining clinical practice, teaching and research.

Dr. McHugh holding a trowel wearing a hard hat
Dr. McHugh helped with the final touches on the new building in 1978

Among his many accomplishments, Dr. McHugh is well known for spearheading Eastman Dental’s relocation to the University of Rochester Medical Center campus at its current location on Elmwood Avenue. The new building was dedicated in 1978 and the close proximity proved integral to fostering the relationship and eventual merger with the University.

Dr. McHugh is credited with initiating a clinical teacher training program between the University and Eastman Dental Center, as well as helping create the Department of Clinical Dentistry within the University's School of Medicine and Dentistry. 

Dr McHugh Elmwood Ave Bldg 1979 Dedication addressing large group
Dr. McHugh addresses a large crowd at the dedication ceremony

He recruited Dr. William Bowen as chair of the Department of Dental Research, as well as many other outstanding faculty members.

Dr. McHugh’s leadership in the profession was evident throughout his career and was recognized when he received the Distinguished Service Award of the National Institute of Lund in Sweden.  Additionally, he was president of the British Society of Periodontology, president of the American Association of Dental Research, president of the International Association of Dental Research and vice-president of the American Association of Dental Schools. He was a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dr. McHugh’s name to VNA Hospice House, 1110 35th Lane, Vero Beach, FL 32960 or Eastman Dental Center, 625 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620.

A guestbook is available at