Keep reading for the final part of Pankey co-founder Dr. John A. Anderson’s story:
A quote by philosopher Soren Kierkegaard that can help us gain perspective from Dr. Anderson’s path –
Life can only be understood backwards;
but it must be lived forwards!
This fact is of such central, profound, and fundamentally urgent importance for each human being to realize!
Joining the Pankey Institute
In the late ‘60s, Dr. John Anderson was in the prime of his dental career and about to turn fifty years of age when the LD Pankey Foundation was signed into being. Roughly one year later, John had already turned down an invitation to be the Dean of NUDS. He was finishing his sixth year in his third office when the ORS group met in November 1970.
John Anderson and Loren Miller said “Yes” to Co-Directing The Pankey Institute. Looking back, it is easier to see the defining work and moments that shaped their lives, character, ethic, education, and intent from the inside out.
The mark of an outstanding educator is the ability to create experiences in a learning process that invites participants into an opportunity of discovery.
After an Advisory Class, or “test run” as John and Loren liked to call it, the Institute officially opened the first week of October 1972 with a C-1 Class. As The Pankey Institute matured, Dr. Anderson took on the role of directing education process and Dr. Miller directed administration. Both sold their practices and became full-time at The Pankey Institute.
John and Loren jointly invited twelve individuals of various ages in November 1974 and an additional three in early 1975 to join the Cadre – the Pankey Institute’s original Visiting Faculty. Dr. Henry Tanner joined the full-time Faculty in 1974.
John, Loren, and Henry continued to develop the next generations in dentistry and an Experiential Educational Process. They dedicated their lives to refining it with and for others.
A Pankey Legacy
Dr. Anderson died of a sudden and surprising heart attack on 12/31/1978, having celebrated his fifty-ninth birthday on November 18, 1978. He was and still is a significant mentor to me.
Within our relationship, there was the opportunity for multi-event dosing of purposefulness, commitment, integral ethic, authenticity, passion, responsibility, demonstrated excellence in relationship building, human understanding, acceptance, discovery, inventiveness, and excellence in clinical dentistry.
A story: As John was becoming more and more full-time in Florida, after the beginning of The Pankey Institute in 1972, he sold his practice in Glenview, IL about forty miles from my practice in Hinsdale, IL.
He would call and ask if it was OK to refer a patient to me for continuing care. I would gladly accept. I would find out while interviewing the new patients that many were from Hinsdale and neighboring suburbs. Most had traveled past my office on their way to John’s for years!
The gift of those patients was not the dental work I was able to do for them. Rather it was listening to their story of when and how they found John.
Some of their work was done in the late 40s and early 50s prior to John meeting Dr. Pankey. Other’s was done in the middle 50s to ’62 and I witnessed the influence of Drs. Pankey, Mann, and Schuyler on John’s dental work.
And then, in the work done from ’62 to ’74, I could see the influence of Dr. Henry Tanner. It was a confirmation of being and becoming a continual student – the learning and growing of an outstanding professional.
This gradual unfolding is a shining example of doing the best you can each day and being open to your own learning along the way. I cared for many of those individuals for the next twenty-plus years. About the only work I needed to do was an occasional “freeing-up” of the occlusion on posterior teeth due to natural wear on anterior teeth. This required smoothing of leading edge bevels and trailing edge sharpening. Re-beveling diminished the chance of chipping and fracture.
These experiences gave me a sense of hope as I reviewed my own work throughout the years. I noticed my growth and development reflected in it. What a gift!