“As far back as my first filling I have wanted to be a dentist,” Robert Lembke wrote in a 1968 letter to then-dean of the University of Colorado School of Dentistry, Leslie R. Burrows, DDS, PhD. Lembke was 12 years old, in seventh grade and already looking to the future. The dental school wouldn’t open for another five years.
Robert A. Lembke, CU Dental's first applicant.
Burrows took the time to respond to the letter. He wrote back, “Aspiring for a career in the dental profession is a real personal challenge for you. The highest possible academic record is most desirable for any individual who hopes to enter dental school.”
In high school, Lembke was student body president and a National Merit Scholar. He received the 1974 University of Colorado Presidential Scholarship and graduated from the College of Business Administration in 1975.
So, did he go to dental school?
Lembke did not go to dental school, but he has found countless other ways to serve his local community and the state of Colorado.
He became a councilman, an attorney and a certified public accountant (CPA) with a master’s degree in tax law. In the 1980s, he acquired a fair amount of land and played a large part in developing the East side of Brighton, Colorado. Over the years, he has completed several philanthropic projects, such as donating land for a hospital and charter school in Adams County and financing an indoor playground for Israeli children living near the Gaza strip.