Welcome back. I hope you got some rest over the break and had time to spend with your family and friends. I want to thank you all for the past year. We accomplished much. Without your passion and commitment, our accomplishments would not have been possible. As usual, we will have much to do this coming year. I know it will be an exciting and fulfilling year.
I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with the Class of 2011 this past Friday, chatting with them for about two hours. I talked about my personal philosophy. In addition, I spoke about the profession and what it means to be an oral healthcare provider in society as well as the tremendous positive aspects of the Dugoni School. They are an extraordinary group of young people. Not only have they achieved a strong academic record, but they have demonstrated a commitment to the community and to leadership. They have been engaged at their various universities, supporting their communities, as well as holding leadership positions. I asked them to keep that passion, not only during the time they are here, but continue it on throughout life. I talked with them about a frustration with myself and other baby boomers who made a commitment to change the world when we were at our own universities. I believe we have failed to keep up with that passion and commitment.
On Saturday, I was able to greet a little more than 200 significant others - parents, spouses, friends, and other relatives - who will be giving our students great support during the next three years. As I explained to them, the dental school is challenging and they need to continue to be an important part of their lives.
Each time I walk away from one of these events, I feel proud to be a part of this great institution. My theme throughout the weekend was the importance of people. The common thread throughout all great organizations is the fact that they have great people, which is clearly the case at the Dugoni School. I feel blessed to begin my third year as the dean and work with so many extraordinary people. We have 500+ faculty and staff, and 500+ students, giving us over 1,000. Our reach extends beyond that to our 6,000+ alumni, friends, and supporters.
I look forward to working with you all during the coming year. If there is anything I can do for you personally, please feel free to contact me. My very best wishes.