DENTIST AND BUSINESS LEADER
UT Knoxville, ’73
UT Health Science Center, ’77
Part of the Tennessee Alumnus’ 100 Distinguished Alumni feature.
As a hometown dentist-turned-corporate executive, Phil Wenk has spent a lifetime serving his community, his profession, his alma mater and his state.
Wenk, president and chief executive officer of Delta Dental of Tennessee, is a 1973 graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a 1977 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry. This genial man with a big voice and a firm handshake has made it his business never to forget where he came from as he builds a better future.
He practiced dentistry with his father in his hometown of Clinton, Tennessee, for more than 20 years. “I was just very lucky my dad was able to tolerate me,” he quips.
Wenk served in many civic and professional organizations before joining Delta Dental in 1997 as chief operating officer and becoming president and CEO in 2000. Under his leadership, Delta Dental steadily has increased revenues. As those profits increased, their efforts to expand their service to their patients and the public
Delta Dental has become the single largest donor to what is now the UTHSC College of Dentistry.
With gifts of roughly $15 million given for capital projects and scholarships, the company and its philanthropic arm, the Smile180 Foundation (named for the power of a healthy smile to change lives), have been a great benefactor indeed.
“As we’ve become more successful, one of the things we chose to do was to get more engaged with providing better oral health to the people of the state of Tennessee,” says Wenk, who lives in Brentwood, Tennessee and was named an Outstanding Alumnus by the College of Dentistry in 2016.