School of Dentistry Recipients
Distinguished Alumnus in Dentistry Award
ANDREW CHRISTOPHER, D.D.S., DENT '47
When Andrew retired at age 80, his farewell messages read like accolades for a best-selling book. “Fabulous.” “Inspiring.” “The best.” During his 58-year career, he was all that and more to those he served in general practice, the Army and academia.
After graduating from the School of Dentistry, he was in private practice in New York City, his hometown, before volunteering for a commission in the Army during the Cold War.
He worked his way up in the Army Dental Corps, serving in it for 26 years as chief of dental services. After earning a master’s degree, he was assigned to the Surgeon General’s Office in Washington, D.C. His military career culminated as assistant staff director of the Defense Medical Material Board, for which he monitored the purchase of dental equipment and supplies for all military branches and federal agencies.
“My personal formula for success was to work hard, be moderate in all things and respect the individuality of all persons,” Andrew says.
While with the Department of Defense, Andrew lectured at Georgetown University, paving the way for an invitation to found the Department of Community Dentistry at its dental school. He became chair in 1974 and established dental health education programs in D.C. elementary schools and a prison and a four-chair clinic in a soup kitchen.
After retiring from Georgetown, he taught the history of dentistry at other dental schools, including the Baltimore College of Dentistry Surgery for a decade.
He has received recognition from several regional and national organizations, including the American Dental Association, D.C. Dental Society, American Association of Dental Schools, American Cancer Society and more.
“I lived the Marquette mission by following Christ’s commandment: ‘Love one another,’” he says.
Hometown: New York City
Dream dinner guest: “At age 91, I’d love to be able to have dinner with my departed wife Rita. Being a recently new widower, I miss her terribly.”
Favorite Marquette memory: “Discovering the Midwest ethos. Unlike New York City, the citizens of Milwaukee were friendly, open, cheerful, happy, willing to help, share. I was surprised to find many were so trustful. (Locking their doors? Sometimes!) … I remember an overnight snowstorm in West Allis, where an entire neighborhood shoveled a path from a bride-to-be’s home to the nearby church so her wedding could take place. And the women served hot coffee and donuts. I had never seen so many “strangers” acting out ‘love thy neighbor’ before.”