The William F. Harrigan Society(WFHS) was originated in December 1955 as the Bellevue Oral Surgery Alumni Organization at the urging of William F. Harrigan, director of the Oral Surgery program at Bellevue and NCMC. Essentially it was composed of people who were associated with the Bellevue Oral Surgery training program. Its primary purpose was social, though a scientific program was always part of their meetings and they had a voice in the awarding of the Maislen Award by advising the Dean of the NYU College of Dentistry as to suitable candidates. On Dr. Harrigan’s death in l980, it was amended to the Bellevue Oral Surgery Alumni/William F. Harrigan Society.
Upon the untimely death of Gerard Cozzi in 1990, a fund was initiated in his name to honor him by providing monies for educational assistance to trainees from the original member institutions of the Bellevue Oral Surgery Alumni/William F. Harrigan Society.
In 1993, the membership eligibility was expanded to graduates of the original core programs: NYU/Bellevue Hospital, Nassau County Medical Center and Columbia University. In the same year, the organization became the William F. Harrigan Society. A second award was also instituted, the William F. Harrigan Award , which was to be given to suitable candidates that reflected Dr. Harrigan’s philosophy and his contributions to the field.
In 2004, expansion for membership eligibility was formally initiated and several other New York based programs were invited to participate. The society now serves as an annual opportunity for residents and alumni to network, share surgical experiences, and learn from the many great Keynote speakers that are honored.