The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso is set to house Texas’ fourth dental school, thanks to a $25 million gift from the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation.

TTU System Chancellor Robert L. Duncan says the new dental school will play a major role in addressing the region’s shortage of dentists.

“A first for the Texas Tech University System and only the fourth in Texas, the dental school will be vital to addressing the region’s significant shortage of dentists and improving oral health in the Borderplex and the greater area of West Texas,” said Robert L. Duncan, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. “This extraordinary gift strengthens our founding mission to serve the needs of our communities, region, and state and adds to Woody and Gayle Hunt’s astounding legacy of philanthropy at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. We are immensely grateful to the Hunt family for their continued generosity and support of excellence.”

According to Texas Tech, El Paso County currently has only about one dentist for every 5,000 residents, compared to the state average of one for every 2,760. Texas Tech Health Sciences Center El Paso will apply for creation of the new dental school with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation.