Alumni Weekend brings community together for celebration and reminiscence

Alumni enjoy a reception at alumni weekend

The School of Dentistry celebrated its second in-person Alumni Weekend, the first since the COVID-19 pandemic, on September 16 and 17.

Alumni returned to campus to connect with one another and with faculty, staff and students. They enjoyed networking, continued education, updates on the school’s priorities and the chance to watch the Gophers take on the Colorado Buffaloes.

The weekend began on Friday with the Charles F. Schachtele Memorial Symposium in Oral Biology, with presentations from Sandip Biswal, MD, of Stanford University, Sarah Dallas, PhD, of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Jacqueline W. Mays, DDS, MHSc, PhD, of the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research, followed by a continuing education program. Rachel Uppgaard, DDS, clinical associate professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery, presented Pearls and Pitfalls in Oral Surgery, an analysis of case studies and guidelines for recommending oral surgery and making quality referrals.

Collage of images from Distinguished Alumni Award Ceremony

Friday afternoon also saw a celebration years in the making for Distinguished Alumni Awardees, as a ceremony recognized awardees from 2019 to 2021, including:

Distinguished Dental Alumni Award

2019: John Kanyusik, DDS '70, MSD '72
2020: Patricia Angela Rake, DDS '97
2021: Deborah Lien, DDS '83, MS

Distinguished Dental Hygiene Alumni Award 

2019 – Patt Carlson, GDH '72
2020 – Lesley Tuomi, RDH, BSDH '09
2021 - Judy Danielson, GDH '77, BSDH '80, MSDH '13

Shivan Nelson, DDS ’11 and School of Dentistry Alumni Society Board president, hosted the ceremony and presented each award, given in recognition of exceptional achievement in advancing dentistry, serving the community and continuing to learn.

An all-alumni and school reunion brought together alumni, students, faculty and staff. Nearly 200 School of Dentistry community members connected and shared stories of their time at the school.

Collage of images from Alumni Reception

Mike Schafhauser, DDS ’79, expressed his gratitude for attendees as he introduced Dean Keith Mays, DDS, MS, PhD. “We are thrilled to be here in person to connect, reminisce and meet new faces in the world of dentistry,” he said. “Since the launch of Alumni Weekend in 2019, we have had to take a few years off—but we are so grateful to be here in person tonight.”

Dean Mays shared this enthusiasm, reflecting on the group of people brought together by the School of Dentistry. “Look around you: you all have the same foundation and are trained to provide excellent patient care,” he said. “Dental school brought you together and helped prepare you for your career in dentistry, and you, our alumni community, continue to do so much to ensure our school remains a leader in excellence.”

The weekend continued with reunions for the DDS Classes of 1970, 1972, 1981, 2002 and 2012 and the Dental Hygiene Class of 1971, as well as dental school tours, alumni breakfasts and conversations with Mays and other school leaders.

“It is so nice to see you all back at Moos Tower,” Mays reflected. “Enjoy your trip down memory lane as you walk through these halls.”

Click on the photo below to view more images from the weekend.

Members of the Class of 1995 speak with Dean Mays