This past academic year has been productive and challenging. The students, faculty, and your alumni colleagues have achieved levels of success that should engender pride in both themselves and our school. This is particularly remarkable because the outcomes of their efforts are products of an unswerving dedication and cooperative partnering to achieve common goals as well as a high level of team spirit.
When I watched the graduating Class of '98 walk down the aisle of the Sony Entertainment Centre in Camden and saw the pride on their faces and those of families and friends, I was reminded of their commitment. When I heard the ovation by the Class of '98 in recognition of the 47 NJDS faculty as the procession marched into the auditorium, I witnessed the true results of cooperative partnering that did, indeed, achieve common goals.
When I realize that I am writing for the third issue of the Beacon, I reflect on the dedication and outreach of our alumni and see these events as examples of the enthusiastic team spirit that has become the fabric of our daily professional activity. I am filled with pride for my colleagues as each issue is circulated and the positive feedback that floods into my office.
It is, indeed, a pleasure and a privilege to be the Dean of the New Jersey Dental School at this time. For this I thank all of youstudents, faculty, and alumni.
It is hard to believe that on Memorial Day weekend, I am in a library writing my comments for this issue. Otherwise, I risk missing the publication deadline. The editorial board and your editor, Art Crosta, have done an outstanding job, with the able assistance of the Managing Editor, Sheila Noonan; the Creative Directors, Rita Rovazzi and Kevin Hersh; and the Alumni Association Coordinator, Carolyn Dennis-Phillips. I share my momentary plight with you because you can be assured that the taskmasters I referenced will drop the Dean's page if the copy isn't ready by publication deadline. The recognition that "the publication" is the focus of their effort, undeterred by personal agendas, provides a level of confidence that the foundation for an enduring communication link for all alumni has been established.
As I have indicated previously, communication is the first step in developing cooperation, collaboration, and trust. There is no better place to develop this alumni "bond" than by extending our congratulations to the graduates of the Class of '98. I believe you will find your new colleagues to be professionally competent and possess a professionalism that will make you proud to welcome them into the Dental Alumni Association. The members of this class are proud of their individual successes, as well as their collective achievements that were manifest through a supportive and collegial interaction with their classmates, other students, and the faculty.
Not every day was perfect, nor were all expectations fulfilled as they might wish; however, the Class of '98 graduated with both a pride and an affection for the school. This outcome should be one of our primary goals. During their four years, they changed from 75 high achieving individuals to a single functioning unit with common goals. We can all learn from our new colleagues because they demonstrated the real meaning of synergy. Synergy, as defined by Webster, is "...combined and correlated force: united action...." In pragmatic terms, it means "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts."
Several weeks ago, following the resolution of a perceived irreconcilable problem, a student government officer sent me a brief note that should clear any mystery about the importance of communication. I quote: "On behalf of the Classes of 1998 and 1999, I can assure you that your efforts are greatly appreciated. Although we can't always expect the perfect outcome, we feel at ease knowing you are available to listen." The time has arrived for us to look to what we are doing right and no longer have to ask what we are doing wrong. Belief in oneself the privatesuccess always precedes the public success.
To the Class of '98: I hope you have enjoyed your first issue of the Beacon. As I have shared with all of you, only by your becoming active members of the alumni association will its future success be assured. Your membership at this time is your expression of "thanks." To all my other colleagues: A special "thanks" for getting involved. Your renewed participation in the school and the Dental Alumni Association are the ultimate rewards.
As always, may I extend my best wishes for continued success and happiness in both your personal and professional lives. And please remember to visit whenever you have the opportunity.
Robert A. Saporito, Dean