Born in Gonzales, Texas, in July 1931, Dr. Jack H. Rayson earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas and a dental degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch. He earned a Master of Arts from the University of New Orleans.
Dr. Rayson joined the faculty of the LSU School of Dentistry in 1969 as head of the Department of Removable Prosthodontics. Named assistant dean for clinical administration in 1972, he became associate dean three years later. Before coming to LSUSD, he was an assistant professor of prosthodontics at Baylor University College of Dentistry, where he was named faculty member of the year, and a member of the faculty at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. From 1956 to 1961, he was a U.S. Air Force captain and chief of the prosthodontic section at Walker Air Force Base in Roswell, New Mexico.
He conducted research in prosthodontics and dental education and wrote about his work for scholarly journals, including the Journal of the American Dental Association. He also co-authored a textbook, Synopsis of Complete Dentures. During Dr. Rayson’s tenure as dean, female enrollment rose from six to 29 percent, and minority enrollment climbed from one to 17 percent. He replaced equipment and set up computer systems for the dental clinics and patient management. In the leanest of times, Dr. Rayson also found the funds to support research, sending students to meetings here and abroad.
In March 1994, the Dr. Rayson received the Louisiana Dental Association’s highest award when it named him a distinguished fellow. He served as chief of the removable prosthodontics section of the American Association of Dental Schools (now the American Dental Education Association), and president of the Southern Association of Dental Deans and Examiners, the Southeastern Academy of Prosthodontics, and the local chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon. He was also a consultant to Veterans Affairs medical centers in New Orleans and Biloxi.
Dr. Rayson received awards from numerous dental organizations, including the Louisiana Dental Association, Louisiana Section of the Pierre Fauchard Academy and New Orleans Section of the American Association for Dental Research. He was a Fellow of the American College of Dentists and a member of American Men in Science, the American Prosthodontics Society, the International Association of Dental Research, the New Orleans Dental Association, the American Association of Dental Schools and Xi Psi Phi Fraternity.
Dr. Rayson was active in the field of mental health. He was a member of the State Mental Health Advisory Board and the Governor’s Mental Health Task Force, and served as president and a board member of the Friends Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
Dr. Rayson died on November 20, 1995, at the age of 64, after a struggle with cancer. Survivors were his wife, Donna Thornton Rayson; a daughter, Susan Rayson Billiot of Belle Chasse; two sons, Scott Thornton Rayson of Metairie and David Henry Rayson of Dallas; a sister, Helen Eiserloh of San Antonio; and a granddaughter.Back to a Historical Overview