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Dr. Dudley Cheu
Dr. Dudley Cheu

On Sunday, July 12, I attended a touching event in honor of an extraordinary person. It was a celebration of Dr. Dudley Cheu’s life. Dr. Cheu, who had been teaching at our school since 1994, was an assistant professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry. It was a very sad event due to his early passing and my heart goes out to his family and friends.

I learned a great deal about Dr. Cheu’s life at the ceremony. I knew him at campus from his smiling face; incredibly positive attitude; compassion and desire to help our students; and the fact that he always got things done around the school. He was always commendable and supportive when interacting with our students. And the students clearly felt just as positive about him. A year ago, for example, students honored him at an awards dinner as an outstanding faculty member.

With his passing, we should all contemplate what lessons we can learn from his positive approach to life. As I watched more than 300 people gather to commemorate his life and listen to his friends talk about him, I learned what an extraordinary role model he was for us all, including myself.

Dr. Cheu clearly knew how to balance his life. His family, including his wife Genevieve, two sons Jason and Derek, and grandchildren were important parts of his life. He loved his profession and his patients, and at the same time had the opportunity to enjoy many other aspects of life. He was well travelled, enjoyed great food and fantastic wines. We should all remember his approach as an example to live by – a person who knew how to balance his priorities and do it well. He embraced life and enjoyed it to the fullest. He will be missed by all, but never forgotten.

Last Monday, I had a fantastic opportunity to play one of the top golf courses in the country, the Lake Course at the Olympic Club, just south of San Francisco.

More impressive than the quality of the course, however, was the goal of this special event, the 12th annual “Kids in the Klinic” Golf Classic. Our school raised nearly $90,000 through the tournament, silent auction, live auction and sponsor donations.

The Kids in the Klinic endowment helps fund dental services for underserved children throughout Northern California. More than 1,500 children, including some with special needs, extensive medical conditions and debilitating conditions, call the Dugoni School of Dentistry their dental office. This year especially, the endowment plays a critical role in providing care in this time of economic need by so many families.

While my golf game could use a tune-up, I felt great about my round, no matter what the score. This event brings out the best in our school family. We had student and staff volunteers, donors, alumni, recent graduates and friends of the school all participating and getting involved to produce a unique event at one of the most historic athletic clubs in the country. If you were there, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you haven’t yet participated, please keep it in mind for next year.

Dr. Susan Bittner, one of our school’s graduates, started Kids in the Klinic in 1997. She had the vision and took the initiative to create this endowment, which has positively impacted thousands of children over the years.

I’d also like to also thank our event chairman Steve Mollinelli, who put so much time into the Golf Classic. He and his wife just welcomed a new baby boy a few weeks ago. We’re thankful for everything he did to organize the event amid his busy schedule with his newborn son.

Our corporate sponsors also stepped up to the tee to support this cause. You can read our full list of sponsors, as well as a recap of the event, by visiting the news story posted here. Thanks again to everyone involved!

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Dean Emeritus Arthur A. Dugoni and Dean Patrick Ferrillo
Dean Emeritus Arthur A. Dugoni and Dean Patrick Ferrillo

I recently shared some news with our faculty and staff about a treasured member of our school family, Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni.

When I started in July 2006, Art was very kind during my entire transition. He graciously stayed to lend an ear and provide valuable input as Dean Emeritus. He was supposed to take a sabbatical that year, but chose to remain to help in the transition. Over the last three years, Art has been, and continues to be, an important mentor to me personally, as well as to the entire Dugoni School of Dentistry family. I consider him my personal “Consigliori,” a term you may be aware of if you are a fan of Italian culture.

Art is now going to take a well-deserved sabbatical beginning July 1, 2009. I know he will enjoy spending more time with Kaye and the entire Dugoni family, including his children and grandchildren. In fact, they will soon be traveling to Italy on a family trip. Art informs me he also has plans to spend time chronicling his collection of slides and writing articles and perhaps even a book on humanism and education.

I want to recognize Art, who continues to be an important source of inspiration to the students, faculty, staff and alumni at University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. He gave us 28 years as dean, not to mention the 62 years in all that he has served in various capacities with the school. Art has made an incredible mark on dental education and the profession. I will miss seeing him around the school hallways, but he will remain close to my heart. I will continue to meet with him periodically during the year.

Please wish him the very best if you see him before his trip to Italy, and congratulate him on this much-earned break.