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It is always a pleasure for me to attend student and alumni gatherings and see that the Pacific Dugoni spirit is alive and well. The passion for Pacific Dugoni among our future graduates as well as those celebrating class reunions is extraordinary. It is clear the friendships that students build during their time here continues on for many years.

The most recent retreat was held the first weekend of February at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove. The annual event provided a chance for the Class of 2013 to officially gather one last time as a group. Others in attendance included faculty, staff and administrators, the 20-year reunion class of 1993 and the five-year reunion class of 2008. This year’s retreat featured a continuing education course by Dave Weber, commercial exhibits, table clinics and many opportunities to socialize, including karaoke singing on Friday night and a talent show on Saturday night. The California coast provided a stunning backdrop to the weekend's activities.

The Asilomar event is a unique Pacific Dugoni tradition that provides another opportunity for students and alumni to build friendships for a lifetime.


River in Montana

My job at University of the Pacific was made busier these past few months due to my current role as interim provost for the University. Still, late this summer, as I try to do each summer, I made an effort to set aside a weekend for one of my favorite pastimes — fly fishing.

I was so fortunate recently to get a chance to combine my work and my pastime during a trip to Montana, where I got together with several people, including a dental school alumnus who met up with the group, to spend time in the beautiful outdoors. It was terrific to connect with this group, and we enjoyed talking to each other enjoying the peaceful calm of the river and trees.

Those of you who are dental students are expected to put in a great deal of time on your studies and patients. Those of you who are finished with your education but are working, whether as staff or faculty at the school, or as dentists, hygienists (or even outside the dental profession!) probably also find that there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things you need to do, much less to do the things you enjoy.

Yet your leisure time matters as much if not more as anything else; it grounds and recharges you. It makes you a more productive student and worker  — and a happier human being. I urge you to always make time for your favorite pastimes no matter where you find yourself in life. For those who are studying or working in the San Francisco Bay Area, we certainly are fortunate to have plenty of trails, mountains, parks, water and other outdoor attractions outside our front doors, along with a temperate climate. All good reasons to get away from it all — even if only for a few hours at a time.

Dean Ferrillo catches a fish


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.

As I have said many times, the Dugoni School of Dentistry is one large family. Throughout our daily lives, we work together, play together, share each other’s joys and, unfortunately at times, share sad moments.

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit with a group of our alums who are part of an event called the Greco-Roman Fly Fishing Week, held in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains. These people have spent so much time together throughout their lives, sharing their joys and unhappy times as well. Their friendships have endured for many years. I had the opportunity to see multiple generations – sons of our graduates who are also graduates of our institution. Their love for each other is tremendous, as is their love for the Pacific family, which was expressed often during the gathering.

Patients are part of our family here as well. I recently received a letter from a patient who wrote how blessed I must feel to be dean of this great dental school. Her needs were taken care of in a compassionate and friendly manner, and she was very pleased. I wrote back to her and said I’m very blessed to be the dean of such a great dental school.

To all the faculty, staff, students, alums and friends – thank you for all you do for the school, for our patients and for me. It is truly a unique place. In all of my career experiences in various capacities, I have never have seen an organization of this nature. It is all because of our people. A school can have great facilities, but not very good people and as a result, the institution as a whole won’t be very good. Here, we have great people, great facilities, and are very blessed to all be working together.

My best wishes to you all. I continue to want to hear thoughts and ideas from you, whether online or in person at the various school events coming up throughout the year.