The Texas Dental College was established in Houston in 1905. It operated in the upstairs quarters on the north side of Franklin avenue between Main street and Fannin street. In 1925, the dental college built a modern teaching facility at Fannin street and Blodgett avenue. In 1929, the Texas Dental College was re-incorporated as a public trust under the direction of a board of trustees charged with the responsibility of providing quality training in the dental disciplines.
In 1932, Dr. Frederick C. Elliott from the University of Tennessee was brought on to serve as dean of the college. At this time in Houston the depression has cast an economic blight over the land. He was hoping for a freshman class of 30 to 40 but ended up with 11 students registered. Dr. Elliot became active in Chamber of Commerce committee work and, through service on the Educational Committee, pointed to the community’s needs for greatly expanded medical teaching and healing facilities. He developed a “total care” concept, calling for both public and private funds to provide facilities and services to meet the health and medical needs of all the citizens. Dr. Elliott quietly started discussions with Dr. Homer P. Rainey, the president of the University of Texas, and others in the University system, to lay the ground work for affiliation of the dental college with the university, with the dental college to remain in Houston as perhaps a unit in a medical teaching center which Dr. Elliott and Dr. E.W. Bertner sought for the community. On May 13, 1941, harry B. Jewett, chairman of the Chamber of commerce Educational Committee, on which Dr. Elliott then was serving, jumped the gun when he informed the Executive committee that the University of Texas would take over the dental college on September 1, 1941, and operate it as a unit of the University system. The official announcement did not come until August 29, 1942, contingent upon legislative approval and appropriation of state operating funds. The Legislature did approve, and on May 14, 1943, Governor Coke Stevenson signed the bill authorizing the affiliation.
The University took over the dental college as of September 1, 1943 leaving Dr. Elliott as the dean. Later, Dr. Elliott was named vice president of the University System. With the state cancer hospital already assured for Houston, and as further inducement for the University to take over the dental college, the Anderson trustees agreed to provide a site in the proposed medical center for the college and to donate $500,000 towards the cost of a building. In 1946 the Anderson trustees offered to provide an additional $1.5 million to the cancer hospital and the dental college. The two University institutions then approved for location in the medical center on a basis of $1 by the Foundation for each $2 provided by the State of Texas. The dental college trustees, all of whom had been active in seeking the affiliation were: Dr. Walter Henry Scherer, president; Dr. Joseph Phillip Arnold, vice president; Dr. Robert Henry Hooper, secretary; Dr. Paul Veal Ledbetter, Dr. Judson L. Taylor, and Dr. Elliot, ex officio secretary and dean of the college. Legislative approval of the affiliation of the dental college with the University, and appropriation of $109,000 for support of the college, remained to be accomplished in the regular session of the Texas Legislature, which convened early in 1943. Dr. Elliott met with the Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee on February 2,1943, to seek support in the legislature. Dr. Elliott reported to the committee on March 16, 1943, that the Senate and House committees had approved the legislation and complimented Representative Emmett Morse of Houston in handling the bill. A most important factor influencing favorable legislative action was the program embarked upon by the Texas Dental College to train dentist for the Army and Navy. Today the University Of Texas School Of Dentistry occupies handsome quarters in the Texas Medical Center, provided by funds from the State of Texas, the M.D. Anderson Foundation and the Houston Chamber of Commerce.