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Bryant G. “Don” Speed, D.M.D., a beloved instructor who taught in the UAB School of Dentistry Department of Orthodontics, passed away in 2014.

Now, thanks to faculty and former residents, his legacy will be remembered through the Don Speed Endowed Support Fund for Orthodontics.

Speed earned his dental degree in 1960 from UAB, where he went on to complete his orthodontic residency in 1965. His first private practice job was as an associate in Daphne, Ala. before establishing his own orthodontic practice his hometown of Selma, Ala. in 1967.

Speed Family Speed Family Speed concurrently taught at UAB for 31 years, beginning in 1980, and dedicated much of his career to the orthodontic residents. He also served as the Director of the TMJ and Facial Pain clinic at UAB. In 2010 and 2011 respectively, he retired from private practice and teaching.

Known for his hard work, dedication, and generosity, it was particularly fitting that the department established an endowed professorship in Speed’s name.

The idea originated from Chung H. Kau, B.D.S., M.Sc.D., Ph.D., professor and Chair at the Department of Orthodontics. Kau wanted to honor Dr. Speed and his legacy at the school. In 2013, the Dr. Don Speed Research Fund was initiated with $5000.00 seed money.

“Every single resident that came through the program loved Dr. Speed,” he said. “So when we thought about establishing an endowed professorship, it was just a natural fit.”

In fact, Speed was so beloved by those he taught, most of the money given was by orthodontists with whom he mentored as residents.

“Everyone I have met with have said that he was far more than just an instructor,” said Elizabeth Carlson, director of development, who worked with Kau and the Speed family to establish the fund. “They call him a personal mentor who often imparted bits of ‘life wisdoms’ along the way.”

Carlson started fundraising for the endowment in August 2020. The effort was supported by Kau and a seven-member fundraising committee of Drs. Lindsay Limbaugh, Keith Harvey, Bill Harrell, Nick Turner, and Brett Wood, and led by co-chairs Drs. Lew Sample and Scott Sprayberry -- all alumni of the program.

She said when the group hit $500k in pledges in just a year, they ordered a donor plaque and started planning a short dedication ceremony to honor Dr. Speed’s legacy. “We chose to keep the professorship a secret from the Speed family until about November of 2021, when we were sure we’d hit our goal and when we’d formalized some of the details.”

With the family present, the team held a short dedication ceremony earlier this year to celebrate establishment of the endowment and honor Dr. Speed. Speakers included Kau, Carlson, Sprayberry, and Sample, as well as Christos Vlachos, D.M.D., D.D.S., M.S., who had Speed’s lab coat framed.

Carlson said, “We unveiled the framed coat during the ceremony before it was ultimately hung next to a donor plaque in the Orthodontics conference room. Everyone shared stories about Dr. Speed and his legacy. In fact, many of the donors were in attendance.”

To date, the team has raised almost $700k in pledges from 32 alumni donors, with the goal of reaching the level of a $1.5M Endowed Chair.

Donors can give online by choosing the Don Speed Endowed Support Fund for Orthodontics. They can also contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., executive director of development, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..