News Archive


Henry A. Gremillion, DDS, MAGD
Dean: October 2008 to May 2020

The sudden death of Dr. Henry Gremillion on May 18, 2020, stunned the faculty, staff and students of the LSU Health School of Dentistry community as well as the dental community at-large. His loss is immeasurable and the support and sympathies from around the world continue to flood in through phone calls, emails, cards and donations. In the midst of such a devastating loss, his wife, Karleen “Mackey” Gremillion, and their four children have faced the tragedy with courage and strength. Dr. Gremillion, a member of the dental class of 1977, was the only LSUSD alumnus to hold the position.

This month Mrs. Gremillion received two awards to honor his life’s work as an educator and leader. On July 10, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) paid tribute to Dr. Gremillion at the annual ADEA Honors and Symposia. Each year, the Chair of the ADEA Board of Directors recognizes a select group of individuals for their extraordinary service to the Association and the dental education community. This year, the awards took on greater meaning as they paid tribute to our friend and colleague, Dr. Gremillion, who is immediate past-president of the ADEA Board.

Equally meaningful, the LSUSD DDS Class of 2021 presented Mrs. Gremillion with the coveted “Golden Apple” award in mid-July to remember Dr. Gremillion’s devotion to teaching and his students. Golden Apples for Teaching Excellence awards are a proud tradition at LSUSD to recognize, encourage and document superior teaching.

Mrs. Gremillion will also receive the LSUSD Lifetime Achievement Award in his memory on Saturday, September 26, during the school’s virtual Alumni Day. Established in 2016, only four individuals have received the award previously – all longtime educators at LSUSD.

“A Louisiana native, dedicated doctor and nationally recognized educator, Dr. Gremillion inspired countless dental students throughout his time as dean of the state’s only dental school,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said. “His vision steered the school through expansions and renovations so that students can practice their skills in the most advanced preclinical labs in America.”

Dr. Gremillion is survived by his wife of 45 years, Karleen “Mackey” Gremillion; daughters Erin G. Jackson (Brad) of Tampa, FL and Lindsay G. Maples (Andy) of Ponte Vedra, FL; and sons Alan Gremillion (Sarah) of Jupiter, FL and Scott Gremillion (Wendy) of South Carolina; as well as 10 grandchildren.





Robert M. Laughlin, DMD Appointed Interim Dean of
LSU Health School of Dentistry

 Dr. Larry Hollier, LSU Health Chancellor, named Robert M. Laughlin, DMD as the LSU Health School of Dentistry (LSUSD) Interim Dean on May 19 following the death of Dr. Henry Gremillion. “Although we are all still in shock and reeling from the sudden loss of Dr. Gremillion, our dental school needs leadership at this crucial time when decisions must be made to move forward during the pandemic,” wrote Dr. Hollier on the day of Dr. Laughlin’s appointment.

Dr. Gremillion recruited Dr. Laughlin as chair of the LSUSD Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery a year ago. He is working with the school’s current leadership to sustain and grow the School’s academic, patient care and research missions.

He earned his DMD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine in 2002 and completed his residency at LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry and Charity Hospital in 2006. Dr. Laughlin received fellowship training in head and neck surgery and microvascular surgery at the University of Michigan and Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China.

He served with the U.S. Air Force from 1990-1998 before joining the U.S. Navy in 1998. After completion of his training in 2007, Dr. Laughlin was assigned to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, where he served as an attending surgeon, residency program director, and department chair. In 2008, he received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Award and in 2014, he became the first oral and maxillofacial surgeon in the Navy to receive the Master Clinician Award. Dr. Laughlin continues Dr. Gremillion's vision of making the LSU School of Dentistry the best program in the country.


Students Cope During COVID

It's a new academic year at LSUSD and that means that new students as well as progressing students have returned to campus. This year looks a little different as many measures were put in place to keep students, patients and staff healthy and safe. "Didactic classes are held on Zoom, preclinical classes are divided in half to enable social distancing, all gatherings are cancelled and the clinic has drastically reduced the number of available chairs for COVID policies," said Jordan Caldwell, D3.

Caldwell was in her D2 year when the COVID-19 pandemic began. She says that even though the start of this year has been different, the trials are worth the effort, "This has helped prepare me to lead a team. When making decisions I can no longer think of only myself. I have to take into consideration what is best for my coworkers, classmates and patients." 

Fourth-year student Jacob Smith echoes Caldwell's sentiments, "This experience will prepare me for the possible uncertainties of the future of healthcare. My classmates and I are more motivated than ever to be as efficient as possible with our learning and treatment of patients. Now that we have finally reopened, we are going to make up for lost time."

In the clinic setting students aren't taking any chances. In addition to split groups, masks are worn at all times and students have a special, more protective mask that they wear in combination with a face shield.

A safe school and a safe working environment continues to be the top goal of everyone working within LSUSD.

Congratulations to Our Graduates

Graduation, for the class of 2020 was unprecendented, a historical milestone in the history of the LSU Health School of Dentistry. It was the first time ever in the school's history to hold the annual Recognition Day virtually. Dr. Gremillion and key faculty gathered in his office on Thursday, May 15, to host the event, announce awards and congratulate each graduate. 

This year 108 students graduated from three degree programs --- 66 from dentistry, 37 from dental hygiene, and 5 from DLT. 

Recipients of the Chancellor's Awards were Jorge Rodriguez in Dental Laboratory Technology, Natalie Duos in Dental Hygiene, and Emily Guarisco in Dentistry. Recipients of the Dean's Awards were Austin Falcon in Dental Laboratory Technology, Kristen Charleville in Dental Hygiene, and Lauren Langlois in Dentistry.


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Last Update 8/2020