Dr. Russell Taichman, Dean of the UAB School of Dentistry, used a couple of cliches to introduce the recipients of the School of Dentistry Alumni Association’s 2021 award winners. The recipients are pillars in dentistry and the Gadsden community.

He conjured up images by stating, “Apple trees grow apples, and there’s a chip off the old block” in announcing the first ever father-son tandem to be awarded the Distinguished Alumnus and Outstanding Young Alumnus Awards at the February Alumni Weekend meeting held in Birmingham, Ala.

Dr. Gordon “Ross” Isbell IIIDr. Gordon R. Isbell IIIFirst, Dr. Gordon “Ross” Isbell IV was recognized as the 2021 Outstanding Young Alumnus. Isbell is a 2014 UAB School of Dentistry graduate. As a student, he served as president of the American Student Dental Association. He has continued his leadership and influence after graduating, serving as president of the Alabama Academy of General Dentistry and volunteering for numerous dental and community organizations in Gadsden, around the state, and nation. His nomination included, “Dr. Ross Isbell is most deserving of the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. He set the standard for involvement as a student, and he has continued to set the standard for young alumni in his five years as a private practitioner (at Isbell Dental in Gadsden and Rainbow City, Ala.).

After a congratulatory hug, it was dad’s turn to be recognized for the 2021 Distinguished Alumnus Award. In presenting the award to Dr. Gordon R. Isbell III, Dean Taichman said “since graduating from the UAB School of Dentistry in 1981 Gordon has only known one speed and that’s full speed ahead”. The elder Isbell is known locally for his community service in the Gadsden area and for the outstanding care he provides his patients. He has had a great impact on the dental profession in Alabama and nationally. Isbell has served as president of both the Alabama Dental Association and the Alabama Academy of General Dentistry. He has played a prominent role in advocating for organized dentistry and oral health issues at the state and national legislative levels.

Dr. Gordon “Ross” Isbell IVDr. Gordon “Ross” Isbell IV“I’ve tried through my career to be the best dentist I could be in order to serve my patients. At the same time, I have given back to our profession and lobbied at so many levels with the hope that dentistry could guide its own future. It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized as the UAB Distinguished Alumnus because I feel it is a validation that my attempts had purpose and were worthwhile. It is an even greater honor to have received that honor alongside my son, Ross, who is striving towards the same ideals and dreams that I’ve always held. This award is really about all the wonderful people, my patients included, who have been a part of my journey”, said Isbell.

Isbell was born and raised in Gadsden. He has practiced for more than forty years in his hometown. He continues to be involved in his community, his school, his dental alumni association, and numerous dental organizations.