By Johnny Jackson
Stockbridge resident Wayne Kerr attests to a life of learning and community service.
For ten years, the area dentist helped run a charitable dental care clinic in Rockdale County. Kerr said the clinic was established in 1994 to provide basic services, preventive care, emergency care, and basic restorative care to the area's needy.
"It was very gratifying to help people in need," said Kerr, 60. "You always want to give to the world the best that you have, and every time you do that, the best comes back to you."
That service -- and Kerr's persistence in continuing his education over a career that spans four decades -- earned him recognition with the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).
Kerr was recently announced as recipient of the academy's 2011 Lifelong Learning & Service Recognition, acknowledging his commitment to lifelong learning, volunteerism, mentoring, and participating in organized dentistry.
"Recipients of the Lifelong Learning & Service Recognition are true leaders among our organization and wholly embrace the AGD's core principles and ideals," said AGD President Fares Elias, DDS. "For Dr. Kerr, this award symbolizes a career of excellence in dentistry and demonstrates the characteristics of a role model to his fellow dentists and to members of the community."
The recognition is presented only to exceptional members of the academy who have earned the association's highest honor of mastership. Kerr said he earned his mastership in 1994, and completed more than 1,600 hours of continuing dental education in 16 dental disciplines. He also completed well over 100 hours of dental-related community or volunteer service.
"This award, I am humbled and honored to receive it," said Kerr. "This award did not exist until 2005, and I started pursuing mastership way before that. I think that, as professionals, we always seek knowledge."
Kerr pointed out that earning mastership was among the most meaningful accomplishments of his life's works.
"Earning mastership was phenomenally challenging," he said. "It was a supreme challenge [that took him four years to complete]."
Kerr is a 1978 graduate of Emory University in Atlanta. He did undergraduate and graduate work at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, earning a bachelor's degree in applied biology and a master's degree in the applied science.
The dentist holds memberships to the American Dental Association, the Northern District Dental Society, and the Hinman Dental Society. He is a Fellow of the American College of Dentistry as well as with the International College of Dentistry, and the Pierre Fauchard Society. Kerr is an Honored Fellow of the Georgia Dental Association.
Kerr operates a staff of four at his Wayne E. Kerr, DDS, general dentistry office in Conyers. "They [his staff] are the finest in the world," he said.
Kerr and his wife of 36 years, Willa, have three daughters Shana, Erin, and Hailey -- all graduates of the Georgia Institute of Technology.