Joe Brennan

Faculty Staff 2007

Joe Brennan can claim a distinguished 43-year career with the University of Iowa, during which he has contributed enormously to the university, the College of Dentistry, and the field of dental education on a national level.

Starting out as an accountant in the UI accounts receivable department from 1960 to 1962, Brennan became administrative assistant to the athletic director from 1962 to 1964, and then served as the faculty housing consultant from 1964 to 1972 and as assistant business manager in the Treasurers Office from 1972 to 1973.

In 1973, Brennans career shifted to the UI College of Dentistry, where he became the colleges business manager. He was promoted to assistant to the dean in 1976 and to assistant dean for finance and facilities in 1981. He then served as associate dean from 1989 until his retirement in 2003.

Brennans career success may be attributed to his unique combination of personal and professional qualities. College of Dentistry Dean David Johnsen says of Brennan, He is extremely dedicated and loyal, has a great attention to detail, is considerate, cooperative, and creative. He was instrumental in moving the college forward during tight budgetary constraints and has positioned the college in such a way whereby it continues to thrive in many areas.

During his 30 years in the college, Brennan was responsible for a budget that grew to well over $32 million. Still, he often had to deal with the fact that needs outweighed resources. He did not flinch in the face of tough decisions, and, even during budget crunches, he earned the respect and gratitude of his colleagues for his fair and cooperative attitude.

Known for his open-door policy, Brennan oversaw the procedural aspect of faculty and staff hiring, salary determination, and the preparation of financial information for planning and decision-making. In particular, he was the driving force behind the design and construction facilitation of the state-of-the-art Simulation Clinic in 1995.

Brennan has also shared his expertise on a national level, serving as a consultant to the Council on Dental Education Commission on Accreditation for the American Dental Association from 1979 to 1985 and 1987 to 1993, and on accreditation site-visit teams for most dental schools in the U.S. Highly regarded by his peers, he continues to be called upon in his retirement by schools throughout the country to serve as a financial consultant.

Says one longtime colleague, Joes efforts with national groups to improve collegiate resource planning gave notice to other dental schools that Iowa had an outstanding program grounded in the best business practices. On campus, Joe was an astute business professional who was the source of sound advice and counsel.

In recognition of his immeasurable contributions to the college, Brennan was named the 2003 Honorary Alumnus of the Year by the UI Dental Alumni Association Board, an award that has been given only four times since its inception in 1986.

Such an honor was truly deserved, for Joe Brennan has been an extraordinary advocate for the College of Dentistry and a statesman for the University of Iowa.

Brennan is a member of the UI Foundations Presidents Club.

Join our email list
Get the latest news and information for alumni, fans, and friends of the University of Iowa.
Iowa Stories
Iowa Magazine
Explore the Winter 2018-19 edition of the Iowa Magazine.