Under the leadership Dr. James Harrell Sr., who served as the chair of four fundraising campaigns for University of North Carolina’s dentistry campaign, the School of Dentistry was able to raise more than $60 million.
Because of his leadership and help for the school, the Koury Oral Health Sciences building, The Dental Foundation of North Carolina and UNC’s School of Dentistry dedicated and named one of the two lecture halls “Dr. and Mrs. James A. Harrell, Sr. Case Lecture Hall” in honor of Dr. Harrell and his wife Isabel.
In 1940, Harrell started his freshman year at UNC studying pre-medicine.
“My father was a dentist in Elkin and practiced 60 years, so in my second year of school I switched to pre-dental, and when I got my requirements finished, I went to Virginia Commonwealth School of Dentistry because UNC did not have a dental school,” Harrell said.
After earning his D.D.S., Harrell returned to Elkin and got married. The next year, Harrell opened his dental practice in Elkin, and his wife Isabel Harrell worked with him as a chair-side assistant for 23 years. Locally, he served his hometown as mayor of Elkin for three consecutive terms. At UNC, his service has been unprecedented.
“Just as he never hesitated to serve his community, Dr. Harrell never hesitated to serve on dental boards or committees,” said Jane Weintraub, School of Dentistry dean.
Among his many roles, he served as president of the UNC General Alumni Association, a member of the Tar Heel 100- an advisory committee to the University Board of Trustees- and a member of two Morehead Selection Committees.
Harrell also served as the chairman of four fundraising drives, which raised more than $60 million for the school of dentistry.
With his help, the school of dentistry was able to build a 216,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Koury Oral Health Sciences building, which includes a 220-seat auditorium, two 120-seat lecture halls, a 105-seat simulation laboratory, five 30-seat seminar rooms for graduate seminars, and room for office and conference spaces.
“It has been an honor for me to be the chairman of four financial drives for the school of dentistry. It’s been an honor for me and a very happy privilege that I’ve enjoyed, therefore I am most grateful to the University of North Carolina board of trustees naming this large room in the name of Jim and Isabelle Harrell,” Harrell said.
Reach Darcie Dyer at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.