Professor Nairn Wilson CBE FCGDent, Honorary Founding President (now President Emeritus) of the College of General Dentistry, has been appointed Knight Bachelor in King Charles III’s first Birthday Honours List.

He is thought to be the first dental professional to be knighted since Sir Nicholas Sturridge KCVO in 2007, and is the first to be made a Knight Bachelor since Sir Ian Gainsford in 1995. His citation reads “Honorary Founding President, College of General Dentistry. For services to dentistry.”

Professor Wilson – now Sir Nairn – is a Founder and Founding Fellow of the College, and its first Chair, serving from 2017-20. He was then appointed Honorary Founding President, and following the full activation of the College with the transfer of the membership of the former Faculty of General Dental Practice in 2021, President Emeritus. He was founding Editor of the Faculty’s (now College’s) Primary Dental Journal from 2012-2017 and was also the College’s first Life Fellow.

A Patron of the Dental Wellness Trust, he is a Past President of the British Dental Association and Emeritus Professor of Dentistry at King’s College London, where he was Professor of Restorative Dentistry, Dean and Head of the College’s Dental Institute, and Deputy Vice Principal for Health. His many other positions have included Dean of Manchester University Dental Hospital and subsequently Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Manchester, Editor of the Journal of Dentistry, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, President of the General Dental Council, Chair of the Council of Deans and Heads of Dental Schools (now the Dental Schools Council) and co-chair of the Forum of European Heads and Deans of Dental Schools.

He was made Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2004 for services to dentistry and healthcare regulation, and holds fellowship, in addition to the College of General Dentistry, of the Pierre Fauchard Academy, American College of Dentistry, Academy of Dental Materials, Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, British Society of Restorative Dentistry, College of Dental Surgeons of Hong Kong, King’s College London, Higher Education Academy, Faculty of Dentistry of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Oman Dental College, Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and International College of Dentists. His awards for research excellence include the Hollenback Memorial Prize, a British Dental Association Tomes Medal and the International Association for Dental Research Ivar Mjor Award for practice-based research.

Sir Nairn will be formally ‘dubbed’ a Knight, and presented with his insignia, by HM The King or a senior member of the Royal Family at a ceremony of investiture at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle or the Palace of Holyroodhouse later this year.

Sir Nairn’s wife, Margaret – who is Honorary Curator of the British Dental Museum, Editor of the Dental Historian (the journal of the Lindsay Society for the History of Dentistry), and a retired Consultant in Restorative Dentistry whose posts included Clinical Director of Manchester Dental Hospital and Director of The National Advice Centre for Postgraduate Dental Education – is now Lady Wilson.

Commenting on his appointment, Sir Nairn said:

“Being knighted is the high point of my fifty years in dentistry. I am hugely honoured but all the more challenged to try to put back into dentistry as much as it has given me. Very special thanks to everyone who has helped and supported me during my career.”

Dr Abhi Pal, current President of the College, said:

“Many congratulations to Sir Nairn on this highly deserved recognition of his many accomplishments, not least of which is his unrivalled contribution to the establishment of the College of General Dentistry. The College is very fortunate indeed to have such a committed servant, and Sir Nairn’s elevation will only reinforce the College’s growing standing and status and that of the profession it serves.”

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