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Our strong alumni network is one of the great assets of the Dugoni School. We recently had an opportunity to gather with more than 1,600 of our distinguished alumni and friends at the 118th Annual Alumni Meeting held next door at the InterContinental Hotel.

Thank you to our Alumni Association staff, alumni board of directors, and all of our volunteers for organizing the events. It is a very large meeting and we could not have made it a success without your help. Special congratulations to our immediate past Alumni Association President, Kimberly LaRocca ’06 DH, and to the new Association President, Daniel Castagna ’81, for stepping up as leaders among the alumni family.

During the event the Alumni Association presented its highest honor, the Medallion of Distinction, to Dr. Dorothy Dechant, Melanie and Richard Lundquist, and Dr. Ariane Terlet ‘86. Congratulations to each of these recipients for the impact they have made on the school, our profession, and the community.

Another aspect of the meeting was the reunion dinners held that Friday night at locations throughout the city. I had the opportunity to attend all of these gatherings, held this year for the Classes of 2012, 2007, 2002, 1997, 1992, 1987, 1982, 1977, 1972 and 1967. The IDS alumni each held a reunion gathering as well. The reunion classes held mini fundraising campaigns and collectively donated nearly $2 million to support the Dugoni School’s fundraising campaign. We thank the classes for this amazing display of philanthropy to support our people and programs.

Saturday’s Legacy Ball at the InterContinental ballroom was a festive opportunity to celebrate and socialize with our alumni, donors, friends, and guests. Thanks to those of you who volunteered at the gala, and especially to our Office of Development for all of their work on this signature event. It is always one of the highlights of the weekend, and this year’s Nowruz-themed event was no exception.

Looking ahead, we are excited about the upcoming American Dental Education Association Annual Session being held March 18-21 in Long Beach, California. Nearly 30 faculty, staff, and/or students are involved in presentations or posters at the event, and we have others involved in leadership activities for their ADEA Sections. The Dugoni School has a history of strong involvement with ADEA and it is great to see this tradition continue. More details are available at

 The ADEA conference will be special for the Pacific Center for Special Care, which is receiving a “Gies Awards for Innovation” on March 20. We congratulate Dr. Paul Glassman and the entire team at the Pacific Center for their work on the Virtual Dental Home system and their many other innovations.  The Gies Awards, named after dental education pioneer William J. Gies, Ph.D., debuted in 2008 and are the profession’s preeminent recognition for individuals and organizations that exemplify the highest standards in oral health and dental education, research, and leadership.

 We have much to celebrate as our Winter Quarter soon comes to a close. From our students to our patients to our alumni family and our colleagues in dental education, the Dugoni School is making an impact. Thank you for continuing to support each other and creating an environment of success.

It has already been an active month so far around the Dugoni School. Here are a few brief updates and reminders as we move forward together in February.

We enjoyed a really wonderful weekend with the Classes of 2017 at the beautiful Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove February 3-4. It was an enjoyable time of camaraderie, CE, and socializing during the last “official” school retreat for our soon-to-be graduates. This retreat at Asilomar started 49 years ago and I am already looking forward to next year as we start planning for the 50th-year celebration. Asilomar is another of our great traditions and an important part of our sense of family.

A contingent of our faculty members recently participated in the CalTEACH program held on campus. Congratulations to these educators who dedicated time to this program. I am proud that we continue to invest in our faculty to help actualize their potential as educators.

Thank you to those who have taken the Strategic Planning survey. As a reminder, the survey is open until Monday, February 13.  Your input and ideas are very important to this process and to reaching our goal of Transforming the Future of Oral Health Education. The survey is located here.

Related to our strategic planning process is our new Dean’s Speaker Series. We really enjoyed hearing from Dr. Marko Vujicic, and our next speaker will be Mr. Peter DuBois, executive director of the California Dental Association. We look forward to his talk on Tuesday, March 7, from 5:15 pm to 6:15 pm in Dorfman Hall. Please plan to join us if your schedule allows.

I hope you have been able to meet and welcome our Dental Hygiene students who are now on campus for their clinical training. Thank you to our student leaders who recently organized a mixer to officially welcome them to San Francisco. The program is off to a great start here and we look forward to even more interaction between the Dental Hygiene students and our other students.

University of the Pacific’s Board of Regents is meeting here on campus today and tomorrow, so please expect to see a few guests around the building. I will have an opportunity to update them in person to share the wonderful work and activities you are doing. It is always an honor to represent the Dugoni School to our Regents — they are very supportive of all of you.

Best wishes to you all this month as you move forward with your work, classes, clinical experiences, and extra-curricular activities. If you need anything from me or my office, please be sure to get in touch. We also will be hosting a Coffee with the Cabinet on Tuesday, February 14, from 7:30 am to 8:30 am on the first floor in case you would to share ideas at that time.

Thanks to the generous support of many of you in our Dugoni School family, I am pleased and proud to announce that our fundraising campaign total has reached $38 million, surpassing the halfway mark of our $65 million working goal! This is a significant milestone, and we are poised for continued success in “Building Our Future and Embracing Our Legacy” during the second half of our comprehensive campaign.

Since our comprehensive campaign began on July 1, 2012, we have enjoyed tremendous success in these philanthropic areas:

  • We have received over $20 million in gifts and pledges to support our new facilities.
  • We have added $10 million to our dental school’s endowment.
  • We have created 15 new endowments that have doubled in value and impact through matching funds from the Powell Match program.
  •  We have raised $2.5 million in unrestricted support for our Annual Fund.
  • We have expanded support for veterans, children, elderly, and underserved people in our clinics and our community programs.

Thanks to thousands of generous and loyal donors, the future is bright at our great Dugoni School. Every gift contributes significantly to our overall goal of producing preeminent oral healthcare providers.

Together, We Are Awesome!  Thank you!

Greetings and Happy New Year!

As we begin 2017, I am pleased to provide an update about the Dugoni School’s new strategic planning process. Our theme is Transforming the Future of Oral Health Education. The Dugoni School has led in transforming dental education in many ways — our humanistic model, our accelerated year-round predoctoral program and a vibrant alumni association — to name only a few. We are well positioned to expand our role as a global leader in education and patient care. Such leadership requires vision combined with the foresight and initiative to prepare for, create, and shape the future.

This is a perfect time to look at the future of oral health and the Dugoni School's place in that future. Our last major strategic planning effort was over 10 years ago. While we updated the plan in 2013, many changes have occurred locally, nationally, and globally over the past four years. In today’s rapidly changing education and health care environment, the Dugoni School must position itself to move to even higher levels of prominence as a leader among academic dental institutions if we are to transform the future of oral health education, and so oral health.

Our initiation of a strategic planning process coincides with the University’s engagement to develop a new plan, Pacific 2025. The Dugoni School’s plan will be informed by, align with, and complement the University’s vision, mission, values, and priorities. I have appointed a Strategic Planning Oversight Committee (SPOC) to help guide us in the planning process. SPOC is assisted by the Academy for Academic Leadership, a consulting firm that has worked with the Dugoni School and the University for many years. I am pleased to report that SPOC conducted its initial meeting on December 16 and will begin engaging the entire school family, as well as external stakeholders, this month. SPOC members are:

  • Dr. Elisa Chávez (Chair)
  • Dr. Homer Asadi
  • Mr. Marco Castellanos
  • Dr. Richard Fredekind
  • Dr. Des Gallagher
  • Dr. Alan Gluskin
  • Dr. Natasha Lee
  • Dr. Cindy Lyon
  • Mr. Blake Swimmer
  • Dr. Gabrielle Thodas

Serving as internal consultants to SPOC are:  Ms. Joanne Fox, Director, Dugoni School Alumni Association; Mr. Jeff Rhode, Associate Dean for Development; and Mr. Dan Soine, Director of Marketing and Communications.

Strategic planning is a communicative, consensus-building process. SPOC will seek input from faculty, students, staff, University administrators, alumni, and other major stakeholders as it facilitates the plan’s development. The committee will create communication conduits to ensure that the Dugoni School family is informed about activities and has ample opportunities for input. During its first meeting, SPOC identified these principles to guide the strategic planning process:

  • Prioritize and limit efforts to those areas most likely to have a significant impact on the future of oral health education.
  • Foster open and transparent communication, respectful of all opinions.
  • Encourage creativity and informed risk-taking.
  • Look beyond ourselves and traditional dental education for transformative ideas.
  • Focus on the good of the entire Dugoni School community.

Building on our school’s distinctive character and historic strengths, SPOC is charged with creating a bold and dynamic strategic plan to advance us to new levels of success. A living document, our new strategic plan will be public, accessible to all stakeholders and interested parties as a model of educational distinction. The implementation plan and associated outcomes assessment plan will be disseminated throughout the school as we work together to create a new and exciting future. Please join me and the Dugoni School in transforming the future of oral health education!