USC University of Southern California

Ostrow School of Dentistry Mourns Dr. Herman Ostrow

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Ostrow and Dean Avishai Sadan.

Dr. Herman Ostrow, a 1945 graduate of the Ostrow School of Dentistry and the benefactor whose name the School shares, passed away on Saturday, April 23, 2011. He was 88.

A lifelong resident of Los Angeles, Ostrow was born in East Los Angeles and grew up in the Belvedere neighborhood, graduating from James A. Garfield High School. After receiving his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from USC in 1945, he served his country in the U.S. Army Dental Corps before returning to Los Angeles to treat patients in private practice.

He practiced dentistry full- and part-time for 17 years before entering the Los Angeles construction and real estate market. In his spare time, he greatly enjoyed collecting and cultivating rare fruit trees in the hillside orchard behind his Beverly Hills home.

It was a 2009 visit to the Griffith Observatory, where he saw how private gifts helped a beloved educational institution grow and develop, which served as the inspiration for his historic gift to the School of Dentistry. In a ceremony on January 20, 2010, the University announced his unprecedented gift of $35 million to name the School – the largest gift ever made by an individual to a dental school.

“I’m proud to give my support and my name to the USC School of Dentistry, an institution with a well-earned reputation for excellence,” he said of his gift. “I am thrilled that my legacy will provide tomorrow’s talented professionals with opportunities to achieve great successes. This is the best thing I’ve ever done; it’s the right thing to do.”

Ostrow is survived by his fiancee Gloria, sister Adeline, daughter Jeanette, son Dennis, grandson Adam, and two great grandchildren.