By Ralphine Major

Memphis, Tennessee, became home for the McGinnis family from 1964 to 1977 as Perry continued his career in the field of dentistry.  After practicing general dentistry in Knoxville, Perry spent the next several years as a U.S. Public Health Fellow.  This position allowed post graduate training in Oral Pathology.  As part of the program, he taught dental students general and oral pathology.  It was this move that led Perry to a career in academics as a dental academician.  The dentist from Corryton, Tennessee, found his calling in academics and certainly made his mark in the field.

Not surprising, Dr. McGinnis achieved milestones in his chosen career in record time.  In 1967, Perry and three other colleagues were appointed as charter members of a newly formed Oral Pathology Department in the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry.  In 1974, he earned a Master of Science Degree in Pathology from the University of Tennessee College of Graduate Medical Sciences.  In 1976, McGinnis earned board certification by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, became the next destination for the family of four when Perry accepted a position with Oral Roberts University (ORU) School of Dentistry in 1977.  Perry became a member of a small faculty that was to develop a dental curriculum and attain final approval from the American Dental Association.  It was achieved right on schedule, with the first students enrolling in the fall of 1978.  However, by June 1986, the dental school closed.  While Perry had been one of the first faculty members in the dental school, he was the last one to leave the Oral Roberts campus in June 1987.  Dr. McGinnis stayed on as a faculty member in the ORU School of Medicine for one year after all other dental faculty had left.  Perry always said that he “turned out the lights of the dental school.”  This meant another move for the family of four.