Sixty-six members of the Class of 2014 received their doctoral hoods on June 7 during the School of Dentistry’s annual graduation ceremony at Meany Hall on the UW campus.
The graduates included eight students in the Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program. Five graduates came from the school’s International DDS program, in which foreign students already holding a DDS or its equivalent take the last two years of dental school at the UW as a prelude to U.S. certification. During the proceedings, the school also recognized four recipients of master’s degrees in oral biology.
Special guests included several members of the school’s Class of 1964 and their spouses.
Faculty member Dr. John Townsend, invited by the students to deliver the keynote speech, urged the graduates to be appreciative of the help and support they had received from family, friends, faculty and teachers before dental school, and asked them to think about ways in which they could repay this help.
He told them to take any anxiety about their future in stride, saying: “Take each step at a time, just the way you did during your dental education.”
Dr. Townsend also stressed the continuity of dental education. “The dental degree is a license to keep learning,” he said. “It’s a continuing challenge to maintain your knowledge and skill level in your profession.” He also spoke of the personal qualities they would need.
“With patients, the challenge is to be confident without being overconfident,” he said, adding: “We’ve emphasized the biomechanical and mechanical aspects [of dentistry] these four years, but honesty and integrity trump skill.”
Opening the ceremony, Dean Joel Berg told the graduates: “I hope you look at these four years as just the start of a lifetime of dental education. I hope you’ll practice and support evidence-based dentistry. I hope you’ll understand the value of research in everything we do as dentists. And I hope you continue to uphold the highest ideals of integrity and professional ethics.”
Also speaking was Class of 2014 president Dr. Eric Olendorf, who acknowledged a debt of gratitude to faculty members such as Dr. Townsend. He added a lighthearted twist with a list of things he had learned from his classmates (“I learned that some people still actually consider paintball a sport”).