Dr. Gordon Drew Jennings

Science & Technology

Dr. Gordon Drew Jennings (1953-2006)

was a native of Long Beach, Calif., and also lived in southern Utah and Nevada. Following graduation from high school, he was a missionary for his church in Central America. He married Lori Swainston in 1976, and returned to his formal education. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in 1978, a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Marquette University in 1987, a Bachelor of Professional Development from UNLV in 1994, and a Master of Education from Southern Utah University posthumously in 2007. Dr. Jennings realized his long-term goal of becoming a dentist, and had a private dental practice until a thumb injury limited his ability to practice dentistry.

He then ultimately became a high school science teacher and basketball coach for three years. Subsequently, he made another major career change by accepting the position of Director of the Dental Hygiene program at Dixie College in 1998. Since it was a new program, he had to build it from the ground up. Initially there were very few resources available, but his “can do” attitude allowed him to believe that anything was possible. This attitude was quickly adopted by his co-workers and students as they developed together what came to be the premier dental hygiene program in the country. Dr. Jennings’ commitment to making the program move forward often found him working at night with builder’s tools to support the construction of the first clinic and lab.

Unwilling to rest on his laurels, he pressed for the establishment of a bachelor of science degree in Dental Hygiene at Dixie State College. His passionate concern that all children and immobile patrons receive dental care, regardless of income, led to the establishment of the Dixie Mobile Dental Clinic in 2006. Dr. Jennings’ moral, social and academic values continued to be an influence within DSC’s Dental Hygiene program as demonstrated by the success of its faculty, staff and students. After a valiant fight with cancer and his untimely passing, Dixie State College established the Gordon D. Jennings Dental Hygiene Scholarship to ensure that his spirit and love for the Dixie students would be ever present. He and his wife Lori are the parents of two sons, Jared and Jacob.