Alumni: The Power of 6,584

Dental school alumni sure have been active in the last few months. It’s been such a pleasure attending some of the Alumni Association events and meeting recent graduates whose faces are so familiar, as well as some of the many graduates from years past. During the September California Dental Association conference in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to meet up with alumni at Thirsty Bear.  (See photos)

One of our new employees at the dental school mentioned to me that when he first walked into Thirsty Bear, he was impressed with the turnout. However he had only seen half of the room. Upon realizing that the other half was also packed with alumni, he went from “impressed” to “amazed and astounded.”

The Alumni Association board of directors also met during the recent CDA conference. You should feel proud of this entire board under the leadership and close involvement of Association President Debra Woo ’86. They continue to strategize about how to take the association from great heights to greater heights, while making sure to address the wishes and needs of alumni.

While I’ve been temporarily spending much more time in Stockton during my role as interim provost, the experience has given me greater opportunities to connect with alumni in the Central Valley. I enjoyed talking to people at the recent alumni meeting in Stockton as well as at a Fresno alumni reception held at the dental practice of one of our graduates.  I also had the chance to meet up with Las Vegas-area alumni during a reception held there several months ago.  (Of course, you can’t be everywhere at once, so I missed the alumni get-togethers in Del Mar and at the LA Dodgers game… perhaps next year!)

I recently learned from our Alumni Association office that the dental school has 6,584 living alumni, which is an amazing number when you think about it. We are very fortunate in this regard. Alumni make an impact on the dental profession, their communities, the university and each other. The bonds forged during dental school experience certainly carry a long way through life, as I hear when I talk to older alumni who continue to stay in contact with each other throughout the years.

In addition to their effect on each other, alumni certainly make a tremendous impact on the current generation of dental school students through their mentorship of recent graduates, involvement at events and contributions to ensure that our legacy stays strong.

I am looking forward to the other alumni events happening throughout the year, including the upcoming alumni reception at the ADA Annual Session in Orlando and the big alumni weekend in the spring in San Francisco. Hope to see you at one of our next events.