Dr. James Koelbl, founding dean of WesternU’s College of Dental Medicine, has accepted a position with the University of New England to establish a dental college at that institution.

Dr. Koelbl will remain with WesternU until spring of this year, when he will move back east to begin his new duties. College of Dental Medicine (CDM) Associate Dean Steven Friedrichsen, DDS, has been named interim dean of the College and will serve in that capacity beginning Feb. 1, 2011.

“We are fortunate that Dr. Koelbl’s recruitment for the College’s administration and faculty team brought Dr. Friedrichsen to us,” said Benjamin Cohen, DO, WesternU Provost and Chief Operating Officer. “He has experience as dean at Creighton University Medical Center School of Dentistry, and has acclimated into our unique WesternU family and campus. His presence assures the continued high quality and forward-looking philosophy that have been hallmarks of the College under Dr. Koelbl’s stewardship.”

CDM students, faculty and staff were told of Dr. Koelbl’s decision in a meeting on Jan. 5.

In a message to the campus, Dr. Cohen stated, “I hope you will join me in thanking Dr. Koelbl for his contributions to WesternU as he finishes his tenure over the next few months, and in wishing him well as he embarks on his new endeavors.”

“The College of Dental Medicine has benefited enormously from the outstanding vision and exceptional leadership of Dr. Koelbl,” Dr. Friedrichsen said.

“My intention is to build on the solid foundation of our mission and vision of the College,” he said. “At this point in our development it important for the College to sustain and enhance the efforts needed to meet the goals of both the College and Western University of Health Sciences.”