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July was a month of new beginnings in so many ways. I’m honored and excited to have started my first month as the ninth Dean of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. Thank you to everyone who sent notes of congratulation. Your show of support means a lot as I enter this next chapter in my involvement with the school.

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In the second week of July, we had the pleasure to welcome our new students to the Dugoni School family. You would be proud of these talented young professionals and we hope you get to meet some of them soon! The students had a whirlwind week that included Matriculation Day, a family welcome luncheon, orientation activities and the start of classes. Their busy first week was capped off with a tasty cioppino dinner hosted by the Alumni Association and cooked by alumni volunteers. The following day, our DDS Class of 2018, IDS Class of 2018 and Dental Hygiene Class of 2017 celebrated the start of their clinical experience during the White Coat Ceremony, attended by nearly 1,000 family and friends at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. Some of you may remember your own white coat ceremony. This grand tradition started in the mid 1990s when the Dugoni School became the first dental school in America to hold a white coat ceremony. View photos >>

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As an alumnus of our school, I know that our close-knit alumni network is one of our school’s distinguishing traits. As Dean, I look forward to staying in touch and seeing many of our alumni family at upcoming events. We recently gathered with a group of Los Angeles-area alumni at a July 23 dinner hosted by Dean Salo DDS ’92 and his wife Renata at their beautiful home. It was a fun opportunity to relive some Dugoni School memories and catch up with our LA alumni and friends. The following day, more than 100 people turned out for the Dugoni School’s annual “Day at the Races” event at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar. A big thanks to Cheri Howell Reynold, former Alumni Association board member, for getting the word out about the event, which attracted our largest turnout ever! We are also organizing regional alumni dinners in the Phoenix and Portland areas. For those coming to San Francisco for CDA Presents, please join us at the Alumni Association reception on Friday, Sept. 9, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm at the school. Please watch your inbox for further details.

One of my favorite quotes recently is from Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” My mentor, Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni, along with so many other members of the Dugoni School family, have been giants in my life. They’ve been giants in many of your lives as well. I hope we all take some time to remember the “greats” we have met in our personal and professional lives. Each of us, too, has the capability to become a giant to someone else. Don't underestimate the positive influence you can have on the lives of your family, friends, patients, and community.

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In this time of new beginnings, I’m proud to be part of the Dugoni School family. Our long-lasting legacy of excellence, commitment to our people and programs, and bright vision for the future makes this an exciting place to be.

Did you know that an endowment is the longest-lasting way to support excellence at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry?

Gifts to endowments reach across generations. Endowments are carefully invested in perpetuity, generating interest each year. With the interest payouts, we can do wonderful things to support our people and programs.

I’m excited to share two examples of how two endowments are supporting our outstanding faculty.

Dr. Sheldon Baumrind has just been selected as the first Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni Endowed Professor of Orthodontics at the Dugoni School. This is a significant academic achievement in honor of his many years of positive impact on the school’s Orthodontic Department and leadership in his field. Gifts from Dr. Dugoni and other donors made this endowed position a reality. You can read more about Dr. Baumrind here.

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Dr. Cindy Lyon ’86 was recently selected as the first James R. Pride, DDS and Carolyn L. Pride Endowed Chair for Practice Management. Dr. Lyon is a long-standing leader who currently serves as chair of our Department of Dental Practice and Community Programs. A generous gift from the Pride family provided funding for this role.  Please read the full news story here.

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Endowed faculty positions significantly aid the school by providing funding for a faculty member, thus allowing the school to direct money that would otherwise have been spent on salaries toward other school needs. The endowments will provide an annual payout of approximately four percent, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars each year to support teaching and scholarship.

Many of you know the impact that Dr. Baumrind and Dr. Lyon have made, and continue to make, on our students, faculty, staff and patients. They are inspiring educators who represent the very best of the Dugoni School family. Being selected for an endowed role is a tremendous academic accomplishment that will give them greater resources for teaching and scholarship to support our students.

If you’ve ever thought about creating an endowment, we have an exciting new opportunity through University of the Pacific’s Powell Match program. The fund will match new endowment gifts of $50,000 or more on a dollar-for-dollar basis. That means your gifts will go twice as far in supporting the success of our students and faculty. Those who would like to learn more about establishing an endowment are invited to contact Jeff Rhode, Associate Dean for Development, at 415.749.3349 or jrhode@pacific.edu.

Thank you to the many alumni who have contributed to existing endowments, established new endowments, or supported our other avenues of philanthropy. Because of you, we are able to keep the Dugoni School at the very forefront of dental education worldwide.

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“One of the most amazing experiences I’ll remember from my time at dental school,” is how Michelle Hsiao, DDS Class of 2016, described her recent experience caring for the underserved at Project Homeless Connect (PHC) in San Francisco.

Michelle was just one of the many volunteer students, faculty and staff who donated their time and skills over spring break to care for people in need. Their efforts make an impressive display of philanthropy, humanism, leadership, collaboration and other core values we hold high at the Dugoni School.

For a decade, our school has been a lead dental provider at Project Homeless Connect. On March 23, more than 25 school volunteers and alumni conducted free dental screenings, provided basic oral healthcare, and shared oral health information to nearly 150 working poor and homeless individuals. Thirty people were brought back to the dental school’s Oral Surgery clinic for additional same-day care provided by a team of volunteers. Michelle is right – it’s an amazing experience for all involved. Read more and see pictures here.

Our community involvement over spring break spanned all the way to Fiji. During four days in Moala Village, 22 students, seven dentists, and an additional spouse/volunteer cared for more than 300 individuals, treated and/or restored almost 1,100 tooth surfaces, extracted 259 teeth, performed one root canal, instructed hundreds of people in brushing and flossing, and educated Fijians on caries management by risk assessment (CAMBRA). Students creatively raised their own funds to help pay for the trip by selling baked goods, Dugoni School bow-ties, hot dogs and snacks during lunchtime fundraisers.

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Looking ahead, many of our alumni in Southern California will be joining the contingent of Dugoni School volunteers at the California Dental Association’s “CDA Cares” event in Ventura, April 16-17. We look forward to another opportunity to partner with the CDA on these events that make a difference in the lives of so many people in local communities. Click here to learn more about volunteering.

Thank you to all of the members of the Dugoni School family, including many of you, who give of your time, talents and other resources. This spirit of community involvement and our impact on thousands of underserved people each year makes the Dugoni School a remarkable force for good in the world. If you’re ever interested in joining or financially supporting one of our volunteer “expeditions” in a local community, or around the world, please stay in touch!

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Thanks to all of the alumni and guests who joined us in San Francisco for the 117th Annual Alumni Meeting! We hope you enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with classmates and learn some lessons that will help you go from “Good to Great” in your practice. What a wonderful and warm gathering of the Dugoni School family. Special thanks to our Alumni Association board members, staff and volunteers who really shined in putting together the event, held for the first time at the InterContinental Hotel. The team is already working hard on the program for next year, so we hope you will put March 3-4, 2017 in your calendar.

Congratulations to Dr. Steven Dugoni and Drs. Gabby and Gary Thodas who were honored with the association’s highest honor, the Medallion of Distinction, at the recognition luncheon. We also are extremely thankful to the reunion class members who contributed so generously to their class gifts, and to everyone who was able to join us for the Legacy Ball, our signature event to celebrate our core value of philanthropy. Special thanks to our Foundation board members and Development team for hosting this wonderful night.

As I mentioned in my luncheon remarks, it is an exciting time to serve as interim dean as we look for ways to refocus on our future. We are relentlessly focused on excellence in our programs. We are investing in people, our most valuable asset. We are also committed to addressing the challenge of the rising cost of higher education by supporting our students and programs through philanthropy. These are ambitious goals, but together the Dugoni School family will accomplish them and build an even brighter future.

In other celebrations among soon-to-be alumni, our DDS and IDS graduating classes recently enjoyed their retreat to the Asilomar conference center. In just two years, we will be marking the 50th anniversary of the first Asilomar weekend. Since 1968, this well-loved tradition has given our graduating students the opportunity to gather as a class one last time.

These two events exemplify the strong bonds that the Dugoni School creates among students and alumni. Thank you for staying involved in your dental school family. You were a dental student once, but you are an alumnus of your school for life. We look forward to seeing you at future events and staying in touch in other ways.