On Monday, July 17 the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) community, City of Boston officials, Harvard representatives, and Longwood neighbors gathered to celebrate the School’s founding 150 years ago on July 17, 1867.
Under sunny blue skies, nearly 300 guests assembled outside the School’s Research and Education building to enjoy lunch, ice cream, music and birthday cake. Dean Bruce Donoff kicked off the festivities welcoming guests to the celebration.
“This is a momentous day in the School’s history,” Donoff said. “On this date Harvard University established the first dental school in the United States to be affiliated with a university and its medical school. It also became the first dental school to confer the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree— a title that emphasized student’s medical training. This was a seminal step in creating the academic environment and prestige for dentistry to be a learned profession,” he said.
Donoff introduced Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley who days earlier had presented a resolution in honor of HSDM’s 150th anniversary with her colleague Councilor Josh Zakim at a City Council meeting.
“The health of the individual, of the community, and of our city are inextricably linked, Pressley said. “I know the importance of health in everything we do, and this is certainly no exception when it comes to oral health.”
Pressley highlighted the School’s contributions to the community, its commitment to care, and its early advocacy for diversity in dentistry.
“As you celebrate 150 years of your founding, I thank you for being a leader in dental medicine, for being a leader in dental education, and also a leader in providing access to care to the adjacent community through the Harvard Dental Center,” Pressley said.
Boston Chief of Health and Human Services Felix Arroyo spoke on behalf of Mayor Martin Walsh.
Adding to Pressley’s remarks, Arroyo stressed how access to care and the importance of oral health is vital to Boston children and families as it affects performance and attendance at school and in the workplace.
“In my role I’m concerned with the most vulnerable in our city. One of the things I appreciate the most about this institution is its commitment to working with the most vulnerable in our society,” Arroyo said. “We have all benefited from the history of this organization and the legacy that it has built. I’m grateful for 150 years of that, and I’m looking forward to another 150 years,” he said.
Remarks culminated in a presentation of the Boston City Council resolution declaring “Harvard School of Dental Medicine Day” in Boston. Dean Donoff also read a citation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts signed by Governor Charles Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito congratulating the School.
The celebration continued into the afternoon with a community open house held from 3 to 5pm. More than 200 attendees took student-led tours of the School and Dental Center, enjoyed refreshments and music, and learned about HSDM’s history through an exhibit and display of archival objects from Countway Library of Medicine.
View a slideshow of photos from the day: