Dr. Edmund E. Jeansonne was the first dean of the LSU School of Dentistry. A New Orleans native, he served twice as dean of LSUSD, and was technically dean of two dental schools at one point.
He was dean of the Loyola University School of Dentistry in 1966 when Loyola announced it would close the school. Then the Louisiana Governor at the time, John McKeithen, asked the LSU Board of Supervisors to incorporate a dental school into the LSU Medical Center (now LSU Health), and Dr. Jeansonne was named its first dean. Thus, he was presiding over the shutdown of Loyola’s dental school while overseeing the building of LSUSD where he had to recruit faculty, supervise curriculum development and monitor construction. The school’s first class entered in September 1968.
Dr. Jeansonne retired in 1974 to take a six-month sabbatical in London to study and teach dental ceramics, a field in which he had conducted extensive research. His successor, Dr. Allen Copping, served briefly that year prior to his appointment as chancellor of the LSU Medical Center. Dr. Jeansonne resumed his position as dean once again at the request of LSU leadership when he returned from England. This time, he held the post for two years. At the time of his death in 1996, Dr. Copping said, “I don’t think that anyone has done more for dental education in Louisiana than Dr. Edmund Jeansonne.”
A graduate of Warren Easton High School, Dr. Jeansonne joined the U.S. Navy Dental Corps after finishing Loyola’s dental school in 1938. He was in the corps for 22 years, retiring as a captain and executive officer of the U.S. Naval Medical Center Dental School in Bethesda, MD. From the U.S. Navy, he moved to Georgetown University’s dental school in Washington, D.C., where he spent two years as head of the diagnosis department. He returned to New Orleans to join Loyola’s dental faculty, becoming dean of the school in 1964.
After his second term as LSUSD dean, Dr. Jeansonne taught full time as a professor in the prosthodontics department. Named Dean Emeritus when he retired in 1981, he continued teaching gratis for another 10 years.
Dr. Jeansonne was a Fellow of the American College of Dentists and International College of Dentists and an honorary Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. He also was a member of a federal commission on the construction and renovation of dental schools. He was a member of the American Association of Dental Consultants, American Academy of Restorative Dentistry, International Society of Dental Ceramics, C. Edmund Kells Odontological Society, International Association of Dental Research, Xi Psi Phi dental fraternity, Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honor Society, and the American, Louisiana and New Orleans dental associations.
Dr. Jeansonne died on January 27, 1996, of complications from a stroke. He was 79 years old. Survivors included his wife, Mildred Hatrel Jeansonne; two daughters, Mildred J. Spahn and Suzanne J. Duplantier; two sons, Dr. Edmund E. Jeansonne, Jr. and James H. Jeansonne; a sister, Ursula J. Rupp; and eight grandchildren.Back to a Historical Overview