Explore UAB

Will Bates, D.M.D. (’17), M.S., has achieved so much in such a short time. To call him an overachiever is an understatement, which is why Bates was named 2023 Outstanding Young Alumnus by the University of Alabama School of Dentistry Alumni Association at Alumni Weekend 2024.

Bates Award A Huntsville, AL native, Bates earned his undergraduate degree from UAB in 2012. The 2017 UAB School of Dentistry graduate excelled throughout his student career. He was class president and Dean’s Medal recipient.

He and his wife Kathryn, whom he met while in dental school, moved north so he could pursue his Master of Science in Orthodontics from the University of Michigan.

After completing his residency, the Bateses moved back to Alabama where they started a practice in Birmingham. Six months after starting that practice, they took on the challenge of acquiring another practice from an orthodontist who suddenly passed away. This was in the middle of the pandemic. Kathryn says that while they were both crazy for taking on the responsibility, it all turned out well.

Colleagues and friends describe Bates as passionate, industrious, talented, and caring. Although he loves practicing, he says his true calling is teaching orthodontics and seeing that “ah-ha” moment when it clicks for his students.

That passion for teaching carries over into his role with the Charles H. Tweed International Foundation for Orthodontic Research and Education. He believes the Tweed Foundation is essential for the orthodontic profession in the teaching of foundational principles of the specialty. In September, he was able to secure the funds to send UAB residents to the 10-day immersive Tweed Study Course in Tucson, AZ - a first for the UAB Orthodontics program.

“This is a huge honor,” said Bates. “When I hear the names of those who have received the award before me, I realize I have big shoes to fill. UAB means so much to me – from my time as an undergraduate, to dental school, and now serving as faculty. I love UAB and I am here to serve.”

Bates is also active in the school’s alumni association, the Alabama Dental Association, and the American Association of Orthodontics. When he is not practicing, he can be found on the golf course or attending Dave Matthews concerts around the country. He and Kathryn enjoy travelling and spending time with their dog Roux.