Alumni News

Dental school creates “virtual commencement” video

Live commencement ceremonies were among the many disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic created this spring, and the UW School of Dentistry was no exception. The outbreak forced the cancellation of the school’s traditional Hooding ceremony, in which students receive their doctoral hoods before an audience of family members, spouses, and friends.

The UW did create a virtual commencement video that included all of its schools. Of necessity, however, each school could receive only a relatively brief exposure as rows of student photo tiles streamed across the screen.

“We felt that our Class of 2020 deserved a fitting commencement celebration, especially considering the incredible challenges that they faced,” said Randy Newquist, Assistant Dean for Advancement and  External Affairs, who also oversees the school’s Dental Alumni Association. The state’s suspension of all but urgent care in March eliminated most of the patient care the students usually deliver, he noted, and students were forced to remain at home for several weeks. The regular state licensing exam also had to be canceled, and the licensing issue was not resolved with the state until June.

“We decided to create a video that would have many of the elements of our live Hooding ceremony,” Newquist said. These include a welcoming message from the dean, a keynote speech from a faculty member selected by the graduating class, and a message from the class president. The video also includes the individual messages of appreciation written by the students and normally displayed on screen on the Meany Hall stage as each student receives their hood.


“Our students work so hard for four years to get to this point, and it was such a disappointment for them not to have a live Hooding ceremony,” he said. “We hope that this video will be a keepsake for them that makes their final memory of dental school a happy one.”

Good times on the golf course

Our Dental Alumni Association joined the Pierce County Dental Society for the annual golf outing on a pleasantly overcast Sept. 13 at the Tacoma Country and Golf Club. The foursome of Sam Hinz, Vince Leverett, Jason West, and Ray Kao won first place with a best-ball score of 54. Second place went to Jason Brester, Luke Bakke, Keaton Hayenga, and Mark Johnson, while third place went to Kevin Blair, Joel Blair, Brian Cheung, and Brian Boatman.

Wohlford, Allen, Kvinsland, & Stroyan

Denny Wohlford (’65), Bob Allen (’66), Jon Kvinsland (’66), and Cameron Stroyan

4 men from class of 2005

Lane Meyer, Ryan McNamara, Travis Hackney, and Tom Vo, all Class of 2005

On the ninth hole, Keaton Hayenga recorded the men’s long drive, while Ally Mueller topped the women. On the 18th, Beth Shaw won the women’s long drive and Scott Shaw led the men. Closest to the pin on No. 3 was Mike O’Connor; on No. 6, Doug Knight and Ally Mueller; and on No. 15, Nick Mays and Terry Lee.

Denis Hopkins and Thomas Safley

Dennis Hopkins and Thomas Safley, both Class of 1980

Matt French

Matt French of sponsor WDIA

Thanks go to our sponsors: Washington Trust Bank, Heritage Bank, Olympic Eagle Distributing, Kitsap Bank, Custom Dental Aesthetics, Big Sky Northwest, South Sound Gamma Knife, Bank of America, Burkhart Dental, Charles Wright Academy, Columbia Healthcare Banking, Garfield Refining Co., The Knutzen-McVay Group, Nakanishi Dental Lab, and Washington Dentists’ Insurance Agency.

Mays, Jones, Mooney & Schruth

Nick Mays, Scott Jones (’14), Colin Mooney, and Dan Schruth (’12)

Taylor and Cahoons

Scott Taylor, Aaron Cahoon, Scott Cahoon (’76), and Chris Cahoon

Tiffany Weymouth and Leigh Sinni

Tiffany Weymouth and Leigh Sinni of sponsor Washington Trust Bank