Imagine yourself as a child sitting in a dentist’s chair and having your doctor perform magic tricks for you.
More than likely your fears of going to the dentist would be significantly reduced.
Performing magic might not seem to be the normal activity of a pediatric dentist but Distinguished Alumnus Ben Taylor has incorporated magic in his practice to build a rapport with his young patients and put them at ease. He has even expanded his hobby into performing magic shows for elementary schools and day care centers.
After graduating from Henderson High School in 1969, Taylor served four years in the Air Force before entering Stephen F. Austin State University and receiving a degree in Applied Arts and Sciences.
From there he headed to San Antonio to get his Doctor of Dental Surgery at the UT Health Science Center and then studied two extra years to become certified in pediatric dentistry.
Taylor is a Fellow in the International College of Dentistry and a Diplomat on the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. In the Texas Academy of Pediatric Dentistry he has held every office from secretary-treasurer to president and trustee on the Board of Directors.
He has received Certificates of Merit from the Texas Dental Hygiene Association and one from the Texas Department of Health for Community Water Fluoridation.
He has written articles for Pediatric Dentistry and the Journal of the U.S. Public Health Services and has also taught courses and given lectures on numerous topics throughout Texas and the U.S.
One of the criteria that the Alumni Board looks at when selecting our Distinguished Alumni is their involvement in community. Taylor has been greatly involved through the Texas Dental Association Smiles Foundation activities.
This is a charity that addresses the needs of underserved Texans. Events called Texas Missions of Mercy are held throughout the state to serve those citizens who either can’t afford dental care or do not have dental care in their area.
Since 2011 this nonprofit foundation has treated more than 40,000 patients, this treatment being worth over $28 million in charitable dental care. Smiles of Hope is another community event that Taylor was instrumental in developing.
It was initiated to support the Christian Dental Clinic at the Haven of Hope, a homeless transformation center in San Antonio.
He has recruited dentists to volunteer regularly, allowing more low income citizens to receive free dental care. Taylor has been active in fundraising events for various organizations and has been generous in donating to multiple charities, including being a Century Club member of MD Anderson donors and is a long time donor of Habitat for Humanity.
In his limited free time, he enjoys another of his talents, designing and working with wood.
He is currently building all new kitchen cabinets for his sister-in-law whose home was destroyed in Hurricane Harvey. Taylor is certainly an alumnus who has succeeded both in his chosen career and in life.
Ben is the son of the late Becky and Elliott Hewes and W.B. Taylor. He and his wife, Patty, have four children and four grandchildren.
A reception will be hosted at 5:45 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Grady Ash Field House and pregame homecoming festivities will take place 7 p.m. at Lions Stadium prior to the Henderson Lions football game against Rusk.