A Founding Father Retires after 49 Years
May 11, 2020
Every dental student the School of Dentistry has trained over the last 49 years has been educated by Glenn R. Walters, D.D.S., an associate professor in the department of endodontics since 1971. Dr. Walters packed away his endodontic ruler on Friday, May 1, 2020, officially retiring from the UT Health San Antonio.
“Glenn was the founding chair of our department”, says Ken Hargreaves, D.D.S., Ph.D., chair of the department of endodontics. “He was instrumental in creating an environment where education was a priority and a pleasure. I remember him interviewing me for my job in 1996, he has been a friend and colleague ever since. I very much will miss working with him.”
Dr. Walters began his dental career as a dental assistant for Dr. Sam Hoskins at Wilford Hall while in the United States Airforce. He decided to further his education and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston in 1966. After finishing an internship back at Wilford Hall, Dr. Walters’ and his wife, pregnant with their son, were stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany during the Vietnam War.
Upon returning to the U.S., Dr. Walters learned that the new San Antonio dental school had opened. He expressed his teaching interest in a letter to Dean John V. Olson. Dr. Olson, who was dental dean in Houston before transitioning to San Antonio, quickly recruited him from the military to teach endodontics to the School’s first sophomore class.
Dr. Walters returned to Houston for a short while, completing his graduate training in endodontics in 1979. Originally a full-time faculty member, Dr. Walters went part-time to primarily work with pre-doctoral students as a lecturer, lab coordinator, and covering in pre-doctoral clinic. “His passion for teaching was electric and he went above and beyond for his students,” says Sarah Saenz-Warren, administrator in the department of endodontics.
Outside of the School of Dentistry, Dr. Walters has been incredibly active with the dental community. Throughout his career, he served with several dental organizations, such as on the American Association of Endodontists Board of Directors: District V, as a chairperson and then president of the Texas Section of American College of Dentists, vice president of the Texas Dental Association’s Southwest Division, and on the Texas Dental Association Board of Directors.
Dr. Walters was awarded the American Association of Endodontists’ Calvin D. Torneck Part-Time Educator Award in April of last year. In accepting the honor, Dr. Walters credited the success of his career to his beloved wife. “My biggest thanks goes to my wife, Carol. She has been my support for more than 62 years of marriage. From before and through my journey of attending dental school, my graduate training, and through my whole career,” he says.
“Thanks to every one of my former students. 4,017 D.D.S. degrees have been earned at the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry during my tenure and I am proud to have participated in their endodontic education.”
It’s no secret that Dr. Walters leaves his unmistakable cowboy boot-shaped mark on our School of Dentistry. His unending dedication to our students lives on through those he has trained. Numerous of Dr. Walters’ students have become leaders in dentistry. They carry and pass on his teachings now and for generations to come.
The School of Dentistry congratulates Dr. Glenn R. Walters on his phenomenal career as a dental educator.
“Some of the things I enjoyed about Dr. Walters is his sense of humor. He makes up words like “piddle-o-dontist” for students who work very slowly. At the same time, he truly cares about his students. I also admire his spirit. He does not let new technology faze him and instead keeps at it, till he gets it.” – Dr. Asma Khan
“Thank you for being my mentor and a dearest friend. I have enjoyed our time very much especially the Friday lunches at Subway! I have got to know you the most during those lunches; how you and Carol met, your collection of pocket knives, about your granddaughter and her trip to Japan and just your life in general. You have inspired me to stay true to myself just like you are. I wish you a fun, happy and healthy retirement. I will truly, truly miss seeing you weekly when we re-open.” – Dr. Nikita Ruparel
“I am one of the few faculty in the department who couldn’t get enough opportunities to interact with Dr. Walters as I would have liked to. Despite that, I have always been deeply touched by his continuous concern for my health. I will never forget that he was one person who routinely talked to Niki about my wellbeing when I was recovering from surgeries and without fail checked with me on it, every single time he saw me. What is even more memorable is that he continued to ensure I was doing well with a smile on his face, even when he himself was recovering from an eye surgery. It’s been truly humbling to know a person who cared so much for someone despite not knowing them very well. Thank you so much Dr. Walters. We are always inspired by your high spirits and your teachings and will utterly miss you. I hope we can stay in touch forever. I also want to sincerely thank Carol for all the cookies I got to savor over the years. They were delicious and sentimentally precious. Please take care of yourselves both of you and all the very best for your future endeavors.” – Dr. Shivani Ruparel
“When I started back in 2009 with the department, Dr. Walters was one of the first faculty members to welcome me with open arms. We bonded over subway lunches and shared a love for Baylor University. It has been a joy working with Dr. Walters for the past 10 years of my career. I will greatly miss him and will cherish all the amazing conversations we had together. Happy Retirement Dr. Walters, I hope you and Carol make many fun memories together.” – Sarah Saenz-Warren
“It was very special working with Dr. Walters as a resident and later as his colleague. He is a caring, sweet and smiling person and his love for teaching is truly inspiring. We joked a lot calling me "his boss”. I still remember my first day as predoc director, when he said: "Hi there, Boss! Speaking of which, I want some time off next week”. – Dr. Vanessa Chrepa
“We have known each other for over 18 years. I am very fortunate and privileged to have been your student, colleague and a close friend. I am excited about your retirement transition as you relentlessly worked to promote organized dentistry at the state and national level. At our school, you were the founding father of our department and its very first chairman. You have planted the seed of the fruitful tree that is our UT Endo family. I will certainly miss our daily interactions, our jokes, and listening to the stories about how education has evolved and how far we have come. I also love all the stories of how you met Carrol, when you lived overseas and the many pearls of wisdom on raising young children and finding balance in life. You are a source of infinite wisdom not only in Endodontics, but in life in general. Thanks for being a mentor to me, and an example of determination and unwavering love for Endodontics, and above an amazing friend. I wish you the best retirement possible! I only imagine how big your pocketknife collection will become now that you have more time to visit State Fair Sales. Please come visit us often too and remember that Carrol’s cookies are always welcome!” – Dr. Anibal Diogenes