The Formative Years

The Formative Years

People who became diplomates of the American Board of Prosthodontics in the 1960s had a common problem if they did not already have membership in a major prosthodontic organization of their choice. Passing the Board did not automatically clear the way to membership in any group. 

This situation led Dr. Raymond J. Loiselle to write a series of letters that resulted in the creation of the American College of Prosthodontists. 

Dr. Loiselle first surveyed the board-certified prosthodontists of the Veterans Administration, with whom he was serving, to gauge their reaction to a prosthodontic organization where education would be the only criteria for membership. Favorable replies were received from 75 percent of those VA prosthodontists.

Letters were next sent to all board-certified prosthodontists in the other federal services. It was envisioned that membership would be extended to all board-eligible prosthodontists and later to all enrolled in ADA-recognized prosthodontic training programs.

Dr. Loiselle’s vision met with great enthusiasm. Over 50 percent responded to his letters; those involved in training programs were 90 percent in favor of the proposed organization. 

By October, letters were sent confirming appointment to the organization committee along with an initial draft of the constitution for comments and revision. The first meeting was set for Feb. 15, 1970 in Chicago at the VA Research Hospital.


On June 1, 1970, Dr. Kenneth Rudd extended an invitation to meet at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Rudd endorsed Dr. Keith Marcroft’s suggestion of naming the new organization a “College”. 

Endorsements for “College” were unanimous. Dr. Pinky Smith wrote about why he found the term apropos: 

Dear Colleagues,

I have been receiving the same correspondence as you, and I am impressed with the thoughts and sincerity of all of it. My first reaction to Dr. Keith Marcroft’s suggestion of “College” as part of the name was very negative. But I went to the big dictionary and looked it up… 

College: An association of individuals having certain rights, duties and engaged in some common pursuit. 

Association: An organization of persons having common interests and purposes. 

Society: Any organized group of people joined together because of some interest in common.

Academy: An association of scholars, writers, etc. for advancing art or science. 

Organization: Any unified consolidated group of elements, systematized whole, especially a body of persons organized for some specific purpose. 

I came to the conclusion that College would be an excellent selection.


Plans went ahead for the meeting (of what became known as the ad hoc Executive Committee) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on Aug. 25 and 28, 1970.


The final breakdown of the committee is listed below:

  • Dr. Raymond J. Loiselle, V.A.
  • Capt. Stephen O. Bartlett, U.S. Navy
  • Dr. Louis J. Boucher, Dental School Professor
  • Commander Kenneth E. Brown, U.S. Navy
  • Lt. Col. Anthony N. DeBello, U.S. Air Force
  • Dr. James E. House, Dental School Professor
  • Dr. Keith Marcroft, V.A.
  • Col. Kenneth Rudd, U.S. Air Force
  • Col. Edwin H. Smith, Jr., U.S. Army
  • Col. Robert C. Sproull, U.S. Army
  • Dr. Bruce E. Stansbury, Dental School Professor

The preponderance of prosthodontists from the federal services on the ad hoc committee gave rise to the misconception that the majority of the members of the American College of Prosthodontists were military. This idea persisted for years despite the fact that the majority of College members were not in the military or VA at the founding meeting in Chicago or at any time since.

On Oct. 23, Dr. Loiselle informed the committee that he had received the College’s letter and seal of incorporation from Harvey Sarner, secretary of the Judicial Council of the American Dental Association.

By Dec. 11, 250 board-certified prosthodontists had enrolled as charter members. A proposed constitution and set of bylaws were ready for distribution.

Dr. Keith Marcroft, chairman of the Nominating Committee, forwarded a proposed slate of officers on Dec. 21:

President Dr. Raymond J. Loiselle
President-Elect Dr. Alex Koper
Vice President Dr. Kenneth D. Rudd
Secretary Dr. Steven O. Bartlett
Treasurer Dr. Ira Klein
Director-at-Large Dr. Phillip M. Jones (1 year)
  Dr. John J. Sharry (2 years)
  Dr. Edwin H. Smith, Jr. (3 years)
Associate Editor Designate Dr. Edwin H. Smith, Jr.


The slate was chosen for diversity. To quote Dr. Marcroft, “There are those in private practice, institutional practice, institutional practice, education, administration, VA, Army, Navy, Air Force, fixed, removable, maxillofacial, East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, South, founders, nonfounders, etc. All have imagination, dedication, and stature.” 

The First Meeting

The first membership meeting of the American College of Prosthodontists finally arrived on Feb. 11, 1971. It was held at the Sheraton Blackstone Hotel in Chicago. At this meeting, the slate of officers was voted upon and the constitution and bylaws were ratified. 

On behalf of the ADA Judicial Council, Harvey Sarner affirmed the legality of the proposed constitution and bylaws. Copies of these had been distributed to all Fellows present and Dr. Bob Elliot’s motion to accept the documents passed unanimously. 

Dr. Bill Welker’s motion to accept the slate of officers as presented by the nominating committee passed. 


Dr. Louis Block, President of the Federation of Prosthodontic Organizations, proposed holding annual scientific meetings in which all prosthodontic organizations would participate. He proposed to hold the first such meeting in Las Vegas in October 1972, to be known as the First International Prosthodontic Congress. 

Ten committees were activated by Dr. Loiselle after the meeting. The pioneer committee chairmen are listed below:

Committee Chair
1. Constitution and Bylaws Dr. Anthony N. Debello
2. Membership Dr. James E. House
3. Education and Advancement Dr. Robert C. Sproull
4. Dental Laboratory Relations Dr. James T. Jackson
5. Public and Professional Relations Dr. Bruce E. Stansbury
6. Publications and Liaison Dr. Edwin H. Smith, Jr.
7. Annual Session - 1971 Dr. Robert B. Peters
8. Annual Session - 1972 Dr. Keith Marcroft
9. Necrology Dr. Walter J. Demar
10. Nominating Committee Dr. Edwin G. Smith, Jr.


The second Annual Meeting of the College was a one-day program held at the Cherry Hill Inn Motel in Atlantic City on Oct. 7. Four speakers were scheduled: Dr. Frank Celenza, Dr. William Best, Dr. Harold Westlake, and Dr. John Anderson.


The new officers elected by the members were inducted. The slate for the coming year was:

President Dr. Louis Boucher
President-Elect Dr. Alex Koper
Vice President Dr. Keith Marcroft
Secretary Dr. Kenneth Rudd
Treasurer Dr. Steve Bartlett
Executive Committee Dr. Phil Jones (1 year)
  Dr. John Sharry (2 years)
  Dr. Robert Kaplan (3 Years)


The next meeting was set for Oct. 25, 1972 at the Las Vegas Hilton. The First International Prosthodontic Congress was scheduled to begin on Oct. 26. The College sponsored three speakers at the Congress: Dr. Carl O. Boucher, Dr. Vincent R. Tropozzano, and Dr. Niles F. Guichet.