You could say Glenn Woodward had a sweet tooth.

Sodas were a favorite of his, especially Coca-Cola. Born with developmental disabilities, he spoke few words, but one of them was “big.” It was his way of communicating that he wanted an ice cream sundae.

“Somewhere along the line he got a big ice cream sundae and all of a sudden ‘big’ crops into his vocabulary, and he would take his hands and spread them apart and say ‘big, big,’” said Robert Woodward Jr., Glenn’s brother.

Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that Glenn’s legacy is preserved at a dental clinic.

The clinic at the Nisonger Center, part of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, was recently renamed the Glenn O. Woodward Dental Suite, thanks to a generous gift from the Woodward family. Glenn, who died in 2014 at age 67, received dental care throughout his life from the staff at the clinic, which serves those with developmental disabilities.

“Dr. (Ed) Sterling and his whole staff, throughout my brother’s lifetime, were just unbelievable,” Robert Woodward Jr. said. “My brother didn’t resist going. We’d tell him, ‘We’re going to the dentist,’ and he just went.

“Each time he went, he got excellent care, and the staff was most generous with him.”

Thanks to a separate gift from the GLOW (Glenn Osler Woodward) Foundation, the clinic has new chairs, a television in the waiting area and artwork created by adults with developmental disabilities from Sunapple Studio, some of whom are patients at the clinic themselves. The McCampbell Hall clinic was initially designed to serve an exclusively pediatric population, and until this upgrade, the chairs were children’s sizes.

The changes and renaming were revealed at a ceremony in March 2017.

“The nice thing about the lobby, having a TV out there and some nice relaxing artwork, it calms the environment and allows for a more pleasant experience,” said Dr. Danielle Johnson-Curry, program director of the Nisonger Dental Clinics. “Going to the dentist can create anxiety for anybody, but because they have a TV out there now, they can relax. It just improves the overall visit.”

The Woodwards’ gift also allowed the Nisonger Center Johnstown Road Dental Clinic, which treats underserved children, to upgrade to electronic dental records and purchase additional needed equipment. 

The care Glenn received at the clinic convinced the Woodward family to make the dental clinic part of their philanthropic plan nearly two decades before they made the gift.

“It was a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Robert Woodward Jr. said. “My whole family was there, including my grandchildren. That was a day they’ll hopefully pass along to their children. It ended up much greater and bigger than I dreamed.”

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