Dr. Ernest Jackson

Eureka College has recently announced that Dr. Ernest Jackson — the first and only board certified African-American forensic odontologist — will be the keynote speaker at EC’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. program on Tuesday, January 21.

The program, “Living the Dream in the 21st Century and Beyond,” which is presented by the Eureka College Inclusive Excellence Committee, will take place inside Becker Auditorium of the Donald B. Cerf Center at 6 p.m. It will follow Eureka College’s Day of Service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 20. 

Born and raised in East St. Louis, Ill., Jackson graduated in 1988 from the School of Dental Medicine at Southern Illinois University and also holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo. He also received dual bachelor degrees in biology and medical technology from Xavier University of Louisiana in 1975.

A Fellow of the American College of Dentists, a Fellow of the International College of Dentists and a Fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy, Dr. Jackson’s many certifications include clinical immunology and interpretation and forensic pathology investigation. 

Over the years, Dr. Jackson has used his dental expertise to provide service to many U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and has also worked as a special consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General's Office as a forensic odontology consultant.

In addition, Dr. Jackson has worked for the Air Force Office of Special Investigation, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, and as the Washington, D.C., Forensic Dentistry Consultant. He was the assistant chief of forensic odontology in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and the U.S. Air Force has given Dr. Jackson the title of Distinguished Medical Consultant in Forensic Odontology.  He served in the United State Air Force for 25 years and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. 

An expert at determining the identity of disaster or crime victims based on dental records, Dr. Jackson, along with a forensic anthropologist, identified over 300 cadavers that had washed out of a cemetery following the 1993 flood of the Missouri River.

For the past 25 years, Dr. Jackson has served as the Director of Dental Services for the Missouri Department of Corrections. He's in charge of approximately 50 dentists and is responsible for 30,000 offenders within the Missouri Department of Corrections. He currently resides in the St. Louis metro area. 

The event is open to the public and free to attend. For more information on Eureka College’s Day of Celebration in Honor of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., please contact Chaplain Bruce Fowlkes at bfowlkes@eureka.edu or 309-467-6420.

The day before the program will be Eureka College’s Day of Service, which will feature a breakfast and a variety of hands-on service projects in the Terrill Rooms of the Cerf Center.

The service program, Chaplain Bruce Fowlkes said, is an opportunity to create items that will benefit local charities, such as the Apostolic Christian Home, the Woodford Count Heartland and Heart House, Court Appointed Special Advocates, TAPS No-Kill Animal Shelter, The Neighborhood House, Dream Center Peoria and Easterseals.

The breakfast is set for 8:45 a.m. and requires an RSVP online at www.eureka.edu/mlkserviceproject by Jan. 13. The campus-wide service project will begin at 9:30, and is open to students, staff, faculty and the public. 

Individual residents, community organizations, churches, and businesses are invited to join Eureka College in the cause. Questions may be directed to please contact Chaplain Bruce Fowlkes at bfowlkes@eureka.edu or 309-467-6420,

Located in Eureka, Illinois, and chartered in 1855, Eureka College cultivates excellence in learning, service and leadership while providing students uniquely personalized and custom educational opportunities.

Originally founded by abolitionist members of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Eureka College holds the unique distinction of being the first college in Illinois and only the third in the nation to admit men and women on an equal basis. The College, which is located on nearly 70 wooded acres in central Illinois is the smallest of only 23 colleges and universities to ever award a bachelor’s degree to a future President of the United States.