About WFO Distinguished Service Award
This award, created in 2015, is the highest achievement award of the World Federation of Orthodontists and is intended to recognize a member orthodontist who has made outstanding contributions and exemplary distinguished services rendered over a number of years for the benefit and advancement of the orthodontic profession and the World Federation of Orthodontists.
First Recipient: Dr. William H. DeKock 2015
In 1985, when Dr. DeKock joined the American Association of Orthodontists Board of Trustees, he had never even traveled abroad. Little did he know that he’d soon be circling the globe, bringing together orthodontists from around the world and profoundly influencing the specialty.
During his year as AAO President in 1995, Dr. DeKock was instrumental in forming the World Federation of Orthodontists and proudly watched as 69 organizations from 62 countries signed the original WFO charter in San Francisco, the site that hosted the signing of the United Nations charter. He then became the first President of the World Federation from 1995 to 2000 and served as its Secretary-General from 2000 to 2015.
Growing up in Iowa, he and his wife Margie married in 1962 and both graduated from the University of Iowa where Bill later earned his dental degree and then his master’s degree while completing his residency in orthodontics. He went on to teach orthodontics part-time there for the following 4 decades.
Dr. DeKock maintained a private practice in Cedar Rapids, Iowa from 1967 until his retirement in 2002. Throughout his career, he was a very active leader in professional organizations, serving as President of the Midwestern Society of Orthodontists and then as President of the American Association of Orthodontists in 1995, among many other positions in addition to his tireless efforts for the AAO and WFO.
His guidance and leadership have helped the World Federation of Orthodontists grow to almost 10,000 members, including 111 affiliate organizations. Working with orthodontic leaders from around the world, Dr. DeKock has been recognized for his many contributions. They have welcomed him to their meetings, their clinics, private offices and their homes. Bill feels privileged to have been involved when the WFO was only an “idea” – an idea that has fostered goodwill and consensus throughout the international orthodontic community.
In establishing an award recognizing extraordinary service to orthodontics internationally, the Executive Committee of the WFO believes it is most appropriate that the award’s namesake becomes its first recipient.