Alumni spanning generations and hailing from all over the world returned to Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) on Alumni Day for the first time since 2019, before the onset of the pandemic. To celebrate the special return of the in-person event, Alumni Day took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, MA. The event reconnected alumni with their classmates and with their alma mater.
Events kicked off on Friday, June 3, with Harvard Dental Alumni Association (HDAA) President Dino Bertini, DMD97, MMSc99, welcoming everyone to the joyous day.
“It is my pleasure to officially welcome you and thank you all for joining us from all over,” said Bertini. “I would really like to start this amazing day with a sense of gratitude. Gratitude for being here and seeing you all. It is important for us to gather, remember the good times, friendships, and critical training, and to celebrate the phenomenal foundation and education we got at Harvard.”
State of the School
Bertini turned the program over to Dean William Giannobile, DMSc96, PD96, for his State of the School presentation. Giannobile touched on the impact that COVID-19 had on the HSDM community, progress of the new strategic planning project, and the changes in education, research, and clinical care over the past year.
“I am delighted to welcome all of you back for Alumni Day. It is heartwarming to see old friends and meet new ones as we gather together to celebrate Alumni Day and Reunion festivities. Through your positive response and record turnout today, I can see that you’ve been eager to join us and see each other,” Giannobile said.
The dean highlighted new developments over the past year, including diversity initiatives, new faculty and leadership appointments, HSDM branding and engagement initiatives, and the expansion of new course offerings.
“As a graduate myself, I am especially proud of the HSDM community today. The way that colleagues, faculty, and staff rallied to help students graduate on time in 2020 and 2021 is admirable and reflects the level of commitment that we rely on here,” Giannobile said. “I marvel at the dedication so many of our colleagues have shown to each student, going the extra mile.”
Transforming the HDAA
After the State of the School address, Bertini congratulated the newest graduating class of HSDM. He then announced the newest recipients of the HDAA awards. Class of 2022 graduates Jack Harris and Camille Herzog received the HDAA Silver and Gold Medal Awards respectively for exceptional all-around scholastic achievement. He also announced that this year’s graduates automatically become members of the Alumni Association.
“We are looking to make the Alumni Association as inclusive as possible. Thus, all graduates of HSDM are members of the Harvard Dental Alumni Association, simply by graduating from our fine school,” said Bertini. “One Harvard is a practice started by President Faust and is currently led by President Bacow. As an alumnus or alumna, you have access to the entire university network. Thanks to our newly reinvigorated Alumni Council, HSDM is well recognized for our contributions and all alumni are included by the University.”
Several alumni were honored with Alumni Awards this year. Tevyah Dines, DMD96, MMSc99; Leila Jahangiri, MMSc95, PD95, DMD97; and Vincent Iacono, DMD72, received the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award for their significant contributions to HSDM and to the field of dentistry. Joseph LeBlanc, an HSDM educator and mentor to many received the 2022 Distinguished Service Award, for his lasting contributions and commitment to the School’s community. LeBlanc expressed how touched he was to have stayed connected with alumni for so many years and subsequently led the entire room in a singing of the song he used to share with all his students, “A Bushel and a Peck,” showcasing how powerful the connections are at HSDM.
Symposium on the Future of Dental Education
The HDAA’s presentation was followed by an engaging symposium on the future of dental education. Keynote speaker, Linda Niessen, DMD77, MPH77, MPP82, PD82, professor and founding dean of Kansas City University College of Dental Medicine, touched on the emerging trends in health care and dental health care delivery, and the diversity of the dental workforce.
After the keynote presentation, Niessen was joined by Dean William Giannobile; Cataldo Leone, DMSc90, PD89, dean of Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine; and Nadeem Karimbux, DMD91, MMSc93, PD93, dean of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, for a special symposium. All three deans leading Massachusetts’ dental schools are alumni of HSDM. Jahangiri served as the moderator for the event. The panelists discussed in more detail the changes they have adopted and seen at their respective schools that will shape the clinician of tomorrow.
After the program, alumni had the chance to reconnect over lunch. They then headed over to Longwood Avenue to tour the School, and meet with current students and faculty. They had the chance to learn about the latest research and clinical work taking place at HSDM. Later in the evening, alumni joined together for a special dinner and gala, celebrating the reunion class year.