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Homecoming Weekend 2015

Emeritus Alums Reunite

Thirty-one graduates of the Dental Class of 1965 and seven graduates of the Dental Hygiene Class of 1965, two of whom earned a master’s degree in dental hygiene that year, returned to the School of Dentistry in October to mark the 50th anniversary of their graduation.

About two-thirds of the emeritus alumni were from Michigan.  Four traveled to Ann Arbor from Florida, two from California, and others were from eight other states.  Dr. John Gregg, president of the Class of 1965; Dr. Arthur Sanders, class secretary; and Dr. Carol Woolley, class treasurer, were among those who were present.

“It’s a great time to be at Michigan and an awesome time to be here at the School of Dentistry,” Dean Laurie McCauley told graduates and their spouses in her welcoming remarks in the Kellogg Auditorium.

McCauley said the school currently ranks fourth in the world and first in the U.S. among dental schools.  She also mentioned 637 students are in the school’s predoctoral, dental hygiene, master’s and PhD programs and are taught by 120 full-time faculty members.  Students and faculty are assisted by more than 300 staff.

She noted  that nearly 181,700 patient visits were recorded at the school’s clinics during the past academic year, of which approximately 50% were to the predoctoral student clinics.  “Patients from 81 of Michigan’s 83 counties come here for oral health care,” she said.  “Considering the distance many of them must travel to receive oral care, that says something about the quality of the care the School of Dentistry offers.”

Alumni also had an opportunity to tour the Dr. Roy Roberts Predental Clinic and talk to several students. Second-year dental student Rob O’Donnell talked to several alumni and showed them some of his work.  “I told them that, similar to when they were dental students, that our professors today still demand greatness from us and continually challenge us to be better clinicians,” O’Donnell said.

Alumni also had an opportunity to see a 3-minute video, Dentistry Victors for Michigan.

50 Years Later: Graduates of Master of Science in Dental Hygiene Program Reunite

Two women who were among the first graduates to receive a Master of Science degree in Dental Hygiene (MSDH) from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry 50 years ago spoke fondly of the program.

The two, Karen Ross Peterson and Sandra Sonner Klinesteker, were recognized during the Emeritus Medallion ceremony.  They were among the four women in the Graduate Program in Dental Hygiene launched in the fall of 1964.  Dean Laurie McCauley welcomed them by name and acknowledged their achievements as the first graduates of the MSDH program.

Peterson and Klinesteker briefly talked to each other more than 25 years ago when Peterson taught dental hygiene at U-M.  However, Homecoming Weekend was the first opportunity they both had to sit down, relax and talk to each other at length, reminiscing and reflecting on their achievements and experiences in the MSDH program, and catching up on what was going on in each other’s life.

“Because there were only four of us in the program, we were like a family,” Klinesteker said.  Peterson, who lived in Florida, and Klinesteker, who lived in Iowa, had never been to Ann Arbor until they began their graduate studies.

Memories of Dr. Dorothy Hard

Dr. Dorothy Hard, was the first director of the school’s dental hygiene program from 1924 to 1968, created the MSDH program.  The initial curriculum included courses in research methods and writing, statistics, educational methodology, directed teaching of dental hygiene, physiology, bacteriology, and dental public health.

Hard made a lasting impression on both women.

“She was regal,” Peterson said.  “She presented herself very professionally and expected us to do the same.  But she wasn’t always easy to approach and talk to.”

Klinesteker agreed.  “Dr. Hard always emphasized the importance of appearance because it conveyed professionalism.”  Klinesteker recalled Hard’s emphasis on keeping one’s fingernails trimmed to reduce the risk of bacterial infection.  “She told us our nails had to be short enough so that when we held up our hands, palms facing us, we couldn’t see our nails.  Of course, we didn’t wear gloves 50 years ago.  But we did wear a white uniform dress and nurse’s cap,” Kleinsteker said with a laugh.

Impressions of Other Faculty

Peterson said the School of Dentistry faculty who taught courses made a lasting impression on her.

“We were taught by dental faculty who wrote textbooks were used in classrooms around the world,” she said.  “That included Drs. Major Ash, Sigurd Ramfjord, Dean Millard and others.  Being taught by these highly-regarded faculty, many times person-to-person, was something I have always appreciated and remembered.”

Peterson and Klinesteker said graduating with a master’s degree in dental hygiene from U-M enhanced their careers.  Peterson taught dental hygiene for 38 years at five universities and community colleges; Klinesteker taught for a year at the University of Nebraska and later at Grand Rapids Community College and also worked in a private practice.

Dr. Walter Loesche Inducted into Hall of Honor

Dr. Walter Loesche, one of the world’s leading authorities on caries, periodontics and systemic health, was posthumously inducted into the School of Dentistry’s Hall of Honor during Homecoming Weekend ceremonies.

A member of the school’s faculty for 31 years, Loesche also taught microbiology at the Medical School for 29 years.  He was described as “a superstar, who was not always appreciated at the time” by Dr. Dennis Lopatin, professor emeritus, who knew Loesche and worked with him for more than 35 years.

Presenting Loesche for induction, Lopatin talked about Loesche’s research involving bacterial anerobes and their role in periodontal disease which led Loesche to advocate using metronidazole or doxycycline, instead of surgery, as a treatment alternative to improve periodontal health.

Loesche’s research ultimately led to a bacterium being named for him, Prevotella loescheii, which is found in the human mouth.

His son-in-law, Dr. Brian Clark, described Loesche as “an amazing human being and a microbiologist’s microbiologist.  His discovery of the bacterium named for him was due to his relentless drive.  He woke up every morning with a smile on his face and was anxious to get to work.”  Loesche’s widow, Rosemary, was present for the induction of her late husband.

Dr. John Gregg Receives Distinguished Service Award

“I hope dental students in 2015 and in the future realize, 50 years from now, that they stood on the shoulders of some of the giants in the dental profession, some of whom are here now at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and others who preceded them,” said Dr. John Gregg after receiving the Distinguished Service Award.

Gregg (DDS 1965), who earned five degrees from U-M, has taught at Michigan, the University of North Carolina, Johns Hopkins, Virginia Tech, the Medical College of Virginia, and the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

He also has served as the chief of the medical staff at the Montgomery Regional Hospital in Blacksburg, Virginia, and a member of the Institutional Review Board at the Montgomery facility and the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg.

Recalling his days at U-M, Gregg said that as an undergraduate Athletic Director Don Canham urged him to forego playing football, focus on track and consider a career in health care.  Gregg listened to the advice and lettered in track.  After earning his bachelor’s degree in 1961 and DDS four years later, he went on to earn a master’s degree in anatomy in 1967; a second master’s degree, this one in oral surgery, in 1969; and a PhD in anatomy neurobiology in 1970.

“Dr. James Hayward, who chaired the Department of Oral Surgery, mentored me for 30 years.  He was one of the heroes in my life,” Gregg said. 

Bestowed by the school’s Alumni Society Board of Governors, the Distinguished Service Award is presented annually during Homecoming Weekend to a living person who has made significant contributions to the school or the profession of dentistry.

Expert Examines Heart Disease and Dentistry in CE Course

A dentist and pharmacist with national certification in cholesterol management spoke to dental and dental hygiene graduates with unique credentials as a health care professional and as a heart attack and open-heart surgery survivor.

Dr. James Lichon told about 200 who attended the Morawa Lecture on Friday during Homecoming Weekend that more than one-third of adult patients dentists see have some type of heart disease.  “It’s the most common medical condition that dental professionals confront,” he said.

Lichon provided important information for oral health care professionals about coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease and stroke.  He also spoke at length about ways to treat patients with stents or who had open heart surgery; the effects of nutrition and physical activity on cardiovascular disease and cancer; the effects common medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen have on dental patients; and how to work with less stress and live a healthier life.

“Great speaker!  Great topics!” were among the remarks from those who commented about the course.  Many who attended said they appreciated Lichon sharing his personal experiences. 

Spirited Gala Celebration

An enthusiastic crowd of about 230 alumni from the dental and dental hygiene classes (who graduated in years ending in 5 and 0) and their spouses celebrated Homecoming Weekend during a Friday evening gala at the Michigan League.

As they arrived, each graduate received a nametag with two photos – one taken at their graduation, the other taken recently.  The “then” and “now” photos certainly sparked a lot of conversation.

Following dinner, the U-M Fanfare Band performed Hail to the Victors.  Dean Laurie McCauley led a spirited “Go Blue” cheering competition between reunion classes when their class composite photo appeared on monitors in the Grand Ballroom.

Continuing Education Celebrates 50 Years of MSDH Program

The U-M School of Dentistry celebrated 50 years of graduate dental hygiene education with a continuing education program on Sunday, October 11, that focused on the new possible roles for dental hygienists in a changing health care environment. 

The approximately 120 who attended were told by three guest speakers that the profession is at the crossroads, and that dental hygienists will need to acquire leadership skills to assume new roles and opportunities.

Ann Battrell, chief executive officer of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, described how hygienists are expanding their role as direct access providers serving vulnerable and underserved populations as well as becoming a more critical part of interprofessional health care teams.  She encouraged those attending to take advantage of those opportunities.

H. Luke Shaefer, associate professor of social work and public policy at U-M, talked about the ever-increasing diversity of the country’s population and discussed strategies to increase access to oral health care.  In his concluding remarks, Shaefer suggested oral health care professionals ask themselves, “How is what I am doing helping those who are struggling rather than isolating them?”

Colleen Brickle, dean of Health Sciences at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota, offered insights on dental hygiene and emerging workforce models and the opportunities they present to address the issue of access to care.  While emphasizing the need for collaboration, she also noted the importance of “not losing sight of the goal to improve oral health care access for all.”

Following the program, alumnae of the school’s Master of Science in Dental Hygiene program and graduate program directors gathered for a group photo.