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Dr. Sean Edwards installed as inaugural Hayward Endowed Clinical Professor

Dr. Sean Edwards

Dr. Sean Edwards and his wife Laura (right) are joined by Dr. James S. Hayward and his wife Martha after Edwards was installed as the first recipient of endowed clinical professorship named in honor of Hayward's late father, Dr. James R. Hayward.

Dr. Brent Ward, left, presents Dr. Sean Edwards with a School of Dentistry medal commemorating Edwards' installation.

Dr. Brent Ward holds up a silver punch bowl that was presented as a gift to Dr. James R. Hayward in 1970 by residents he had mentored during his career. It is engraved with the names of residents from 1953 to 1970. The memento from Hayward’s career was part of the Hayward Professorship installation for Dr. Sean Edwards.

Ann Arbor, Mich., March 6, 2017 -–  Dr. Sean Edwards was installed Wednesday as the first James R. Hayward Endowed Clinical Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

Edwards is a Clinical Associate Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the U-M School of Dentistry and the U-M Medical School.  Hayward was a renowned oral surgeon whose education and career at U-M spanned more than 40 years.

Edwards was installed during the spring meeting of the Chalmers J. Lyons Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Palmer Commons.  His renewable five-year appointment was effective Sept. 1, 2016, and runs through Aug. 31, 2021.

Edwards is Chief of Pediatric Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and director of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency Program for the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Hospital Dentistry.  He received his DDS from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1998, and his MD from the U-M in 2003. He completed his residency at U-M, with fellowships at U-M and the University of Pittsburgh, among other specialized training he has received.

In recommending Edwards to the U-M Board of Regents for the professorship, School of Dentistry Dean Laurie McCauley cited his extensive knowledge and surgical skills related to dentofacial deformities, cleft lip and palate reconstruction, and pediatric sleep apnea. “His unique training in craniofacial surgery and pediatric oncology and reconstruction sets him apart as one of the most sought after oral surgeons in the world,” she said.

Edwards was introduced during his installation by Dr. Brent Ward, associate professor and Chairman of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Hospital Dentistry in the School of Dentistry and Section Head within the Department of Surgery at Michigan Medicine. Ward praised the breadth and depth of Edwards’ intellect and skills, as well as his ability to find time in his busy daily schedule of surgeries to assist other surgeons. Perhaps Edwards’ most valuable trait, Ward said, is the genuine way he relates to his residents and passes along his knowledge to them.

In his lecture, Edwards continued the theme of the importance of mentoring, crediting the many doctors and professors who have steered his career by generously sharing their knowledge or giving him many types of advice based on their experiences.  Surgical skills are obviously important, he said, but having the support of a broad network of personal and professional relationships is vital to individual growth and success.  Both mentor and mentee benefit from the process, he said.

“I’ve had a tremendously fortunate path in life,” Edwards said. “As I’ve said before on many occasions … there’s no such thing as a self-made man. Nobody gets to where they are (alone). Even though we like to think about (how you) can pull yourself up by the boot straps and get ahead in life, that doesn’t exist.  Somebody has to stick their neck out for you.  Somebody has to stick a hand out and lift you up.  I’ve been fortunate to have many of those.”

Edwards advocates for a structured approach to mentoring at the medical and dental schools.  A new curriculum and programs that include mentoring will not only make better doctors and surgeons, but make better people because it is a reciprocal relationship, he said. “We need to teach mentoring, we need to create mentoring opportunities,” he said.

Ward and Edwards each praised the mentoring skills of the new professorship’s namesake. James Hayward’s lasting legacy is as much about his genuine care for his residents and colleagues as it is about his world-class skill as a surgeon, they said.  That’s reflected in the many former students, colleagues and alumni who contributed to the endowment, Ward said.

Hayward received his DDS from U-M in 1944, and a master’s in oral surgery in 1947. He was a clinical instructor as a graduate student, and was an assistant professor while in private practice in Detroit.  He became department chair in 1952, a professor of dentistry in 1956 and a professor of dentistry in surgery at the Medical School in 1963. He directed oral and maxillofacial surgery in the Department of Hospital Dentistry at University Hospitals. He helped develop oral surgery training standards and served as president of numerous state and national professional associations and boards. He published a textbook and more than 175 journal articles and book chapters.  He retired in 1982 and died in 2012.  Hayward’s son, Dr. James S. Hayward and his wife, Martha, of Marquette, Mich., attended Edwards’ installation on Wednesday.


The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at:

School of Dentistry writer Lynn Monson at, or (734) 615-1971.