Launching the Class of D2017
On May 21, the Class of D2017 said farewell to faculty, staff, and clinic patients and launched into their dental careers.
Commencement exercises for Tufts University took place at the Medford/Somerville campus, with the dental school’s commencement ceremony held at the Carmichael Quadrangle. Kenya Barris, an award-winning writer, producer, and director best known for the hit ABC television series Black-ish, was this year’s Commencement speaker, and discussed the critical importance of remaining true and honest to one’s experience.
“You’re going to hear a lot of different opinions of who you should be and what you should think, but your job is to drown all that out, drown that noise away,” Barris said. “Just stick to being you.”
This academic year 212 students received Doctor of Dental Medicine degrees, 20 of whom received International Student (IS) DMD degrees or Faculty IS DMD degrees. There were also seven new conferrals of Master of Science degrees, and 54 postgraduate certificate recipients.
Dean Huw Thomas thanked graduates for their perseverance, dedication and care towards their patients during the dental school’s ceremony.
“One of the most pleasurable occasions for the Dean and faculty is to share in the celebration of the accomplishments of their students and to share in the joy of achievement,” Dean Thomas said. “We are indeed proud of you!”
Both Pasquale Eckert, D17 class president, and Moosa Dalwai, DIS17 class president, also spoke during the event about their experiences as Tufts students and hopes for the future.
“When we walk off the stage in an hour with our diplomas in hand, the learning doesn’t stop,” Eckert said. “It can’t stop! We owe it to ourselves and to our patients to keep reading, to keep learning.”
Dental alum honored for groundbreaking work in research
Bruce Baum, D71, former member of the dental school’s Board of Advisors, was named an Honorary Doctor of Science during this year’s Commencement.
Baum is a pioneering dental researcher and clinician, renowned for his innovative work involving gene transfer strategies for improving quality-of-life for oral cancer and other dry mouth patients. Baum said that he traced his career path to his first day in dental school, when he planned on going into private practice.
“I came to Tufts intending to practice dentistry on the North Shore in an office with a view of the water, as my mother once suggested,” he said. “On my first day at Tufts all that began to change. The then Dean of the school, Lou Calisti, gave his welcoming remarks to my class, which included this sentence, ‘The goal of a health profession is to eliminate itself.’ I was never the same. There would be no four-day workweeks or an office with a view of the water. I didn’t know what I would do, but it would be different.”
Baum is a scientist emeritus at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and former director of the Medical Research Scholar’s Program at the National Institutes of Health. He said being awarded an honorary doctorate from Tufts was special to him.
“I have the good fortune to hold degrees from three of America’s finest universities,” he said, “but Tufts holds my heart because it nurtured my career and me, as a health professional and scientist.”
Commencement activities around the School
As always, the weeks leading up to Commencement were busy with various student and faculty events. Just a few are highlighted below:
The 24th Annual Graduation Dinner
The Class of D2017 had the opportunity to celebrate and mingle at the TUSDM 24th Annual Graduation Dinner, which took place on May 12 at the Westin Copley Place in Boston. The occasion gave the Tufts Dental Alumni Association a chance to welcome the students into the ranks of TUSDM’s alumni, and distribute awards to students. See photos of the Graduation Dinner
Graduate Award Recognition Luncheons
The Office of Student Affairs held the Graduation Awards Luncheons on April 24 and May 1 at the dental school. The luncheons presented graduating students with annual awards for excellence in their specialties and academic achievement.
Staff and Faculty Thank You Event
For the first time, the D17 class decided to hold an event to honor the staff and faculty members at the school who supported them throughout their time at Tufts. The reception took place on May 4 in the Alumni Lounge, featuring champagne and cupcakes.
OKU Annual Convocation
On May 19, the XI-XI Chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the national honorary dental fraternity, held their convocation. Students are elected to membership on the basis of scholarship and professional stature. There were 25 members of the D17 class elected to the fraternity. Charles Rankin, D79, DG86, D08P, DG11P, professor and interim chair of comprehensive care, spoke during the event.
Health Professional Scholarship Program and Commissioning Ceremony
The annual Health Professional Scholarship Program Graduation Dinner was held on May 3 at the dental school. The event honored those who will be practicing in the military after their graduation. On May 19, two D17s, Pay Hoye and Lejla Tupkovic, were commissioned into the U.S. Army in a ceremony at Fenway Park. Five D17s were commissioned into the U.S. Navy over Commencement weekend. See photos of the HPSP Graduation Dinner.