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Getting the boot boots

October 2002

Dental students couldn’t mistake it and they certainly couldn’t ignore it: the confident clatter of Billy Rigsby’s, D.D.S., brown leather cowboy boots. "Students learned to go by the sound on the clinic floor. Then they alerted the other students I was coming," Dr. Rigsby said. "I was the enforcer of student policy -- the associate dean of clinical affairs. And word got out that you didn’t want to violate policy because you didn’t want to come upstairs and visit with me in my office."

Dr. Rigsby jokes he was the "man with the black hat." But most people really remember him for his ubiquitous boots. No one ever recalled seeing Dr. Rigsby without the trademark footwear. And black hat aside, students and faculty regarded him as one of the most respected and beloved professors in the history of the Dental School.

Now his legacy, or at least his boots, will live on forever. The Dental School Alumni Association convinced Dr. Rigsby to part with the beloved boots and auctioned them off at a fund-raising event. After much debate over who should get the prized possession, alumni pooled their money and pitched in a cool $3,300. The funds, and the boots, will go the Dental School’s planned Hall of Honor.

The whole event surprised Dr. Rigsby, who couldn’t believe somebody would actually pay for the footwear. But alumni say his 30 years of service make him a legend. And after all, if the shoe fits, it deserves a place in the Hall of Honor.


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Updated 12/11/14