The Class of 1963's story could have been like many others: As dental students, they were a close-knit group, but after graduation, the 29 class members slowly drifted apart. But, over time, they've become determined not to become merely "auld acquaintances."
Within the recesses of their psyches, the Class of 1963 felt a special kinship with each other. In 1983, classmates made a concerted effort to get together for their 20th reunion. "We had a very successful turnout," says Dr. Ed Taylor, the class treasurer. "We met in the Poconos and rekindled our relationships."
"It was as if no time elapsed," notes Dr. Mimi Vella, the class's only female student. "You would have thought we had been apart for weeks instead of years."
That reunion was not the end of the story. The classmates, whose practices have spanned New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and California, meet about three or four times a year. There's the annual lobsterfest at Dr. Taylor's home, and a formal Christmas party is hosted by Dr. Dave Sheppard, the class secretary, and his wife Melanie.
It is during the holiday fete, at the festively decorated Sheppard home, that the class makes travel plans. They take a major trip every other year. A core group of about 14 people has taken five cruises, travelling to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Alaska. "In 1997 we took a wonderful land trip to Ireland," says Dr. Taylor. "When we meet, we seldom talk about dentistry. We just enjoy each other's company. The group makes us all feel young again."
"It seems that we just grow and share with each other every time we meet," he concludes. "It's a very special class."
The Class of 1973 celebrated its 25th anniversary last October, but there was another reason for cheer. One of its members, Dr. Bruce Small, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award given by the Dental Alumni Association.
Dr. Small, who has a private practice in Lawrenceville, N.J., concentrates on clinical excellence in restorative dentistry. A Fellow of both the International and American College of Dentists, Dr. Small is co-developer of the Hybrid Crown, a combination of a ceramic veneer and a metal crown.
A nationally renowned speaker, Dr. Small seeks to "help others develop a rational approach to restorative dentistry, particularly when using new dental materials." During these presentations, noted classmate Dr. Tom Paglione in his letter nominating Dr. Small, "one constant...is the mention of UMDNJ as the place that gave him the opportunity to enjoy the success he is achieving." Dr. Small was the featured speaker at last fall's Eighth Annual Alumni CE Course.
Thirty-two members of the Class of 1993 celebrated their five-year reunion last October at the Meadowlands Sheraton Hotel in Secaucus, N.J. Together with their guests, the young alumni enjoyed a buffet dinner, an open bar, and dancing. Most of all, they had a great time being together and are looking ahead to the reunion for all classes in 2000.
THE LINK, a newsletter and communication tool to support NJDS's Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Program, has been launched by the Office of Planning and Assessment.
Published for NJDS administrators, faculty, staff, and students, THE LINK serves as "one big 'Chat Room' where ideas, problems and solutions can be exchanged," according to last summer's premiere edition. While the focus is on CQI, the newsletter also provides news, information, and updates pertaining to the NJDS family.
by Fotinos Panagakos, D.M.D. ('92)
The truth and misconceptions about nutrition and dentistry will be sorted out at the Dr. Michael Balbo Dental Sciences Expo on Wednesday, March 31, at New Jersey Dental School.
"Complementary Nutritional Therapy in the Dental Office: Fact and Fiction" is this year's continuing education program for alumni, other dentists, and senior dental students. Dr. Riva Touger-Decker, a registered dietician and assistant professor of General and Hospital Dentistry, and Dr. Richard Vogel ('71), chairman and professor of Oral Pathology, Biology and Diagnostic Sciences and professor of Periodontics, are the program directors.
In addition to the continuing education program, student and faculty research presentations will be featured and there will be exhibits by dental product manufacturers. The Class of 2000 attends the "On Beyond Graduation" workshop, where specialty and residency program directors give presentations. Meanwhile, NJDS faculty and staff can select from professional development programs.
The Balbo Expo is named to honor the late Dr. Michael Balbo, the well-respected and revered faculty member who began the program more than 12 years ago.
Editor's Note: Dr. Panagakos is the coordinator for the
Dental Expo. The Expo's organizing committee includes Dr. Kim
Fenesy ('86 ), Dr. Jeffrey Linfante ('90), Dr. Zia Shey ('73),
Ms. Susan Hill, Ms. Mercedes Lettman, Ms. Jane Verillo, and Ms.
Regina Jackson. The administrative coordinator for the program
is Ms. Carolyn Booker-Willard. "We would like to recognize
the support and assistance of Dr. Robert Saporito, the NJDS Alumni
Association, and all of the faculty, staff, and students that
help make the Expo program a success at NJDS," notes Dr.
Panagakos. "Without their support, the organizing committee
would not be able to put together such a comprehensive event
honoring Dr. Balbo."
Volunteers are needed for the Special Olympics, Special Smiles program to help with registration, oral health/nutrition education, and oral health screenings.
Reserve June 56 now, and contact Dr. Giniger at 973.972.7347 or firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer or for more information.