For the Bengsons, Cap and Gown fund is a family affair

Doug and Sophie Bengson take a selfie in US Bank stadium

Doug Bengson, DDS ’90, really loves three things: his family, dentistry and the University of Minnesota.

Doug Bengson, DDS '90

“People who know me would probably say I’m very passionate about dentistry,” he said. “My passion for our profession has never been greater—I absolutely love going to the office.”

But, he continued, “I am undoubtedly one of the biggest Golden Gopher fans you will ever meet, especially in western North Dakota!”

Bengson brings his passion for the Gophers to his hometown of Minot, ND, where he has practiced for the past 33 years.

“I am forever grateful for the education I received and the guidance from local University of Minnesota alumni to consider Minnesota in my application process,” he said.

That gratitude and love for the University was passed on to Bengson’s two daughters: Emily, who received her undergraduate and master’s degree from the university, and Sophie, DDS ’23. “To say I am a proud dad would be an understatement,” he said. “We are blessed with such great kids that are now great young women. We just couldn't be more proud of or happy for them.”

One of the ways Bengson shows his gratitude for the School of Dentistry is participating in the cap and gown fund, through which alumni and donors sponsor the cost of graduation regalia for all graduates. Bengson believes it’s important to pay it forward and provide inspiration for students who are just getting started.

Bengson has participated in the cap and gown fund since its inception—but this year, it’s especially exciting as his own daughter will benefit—along with her friends and classmates.

Sophie Bengson, DDS '23

“A few months ago, my wife and I decided that, along with sponsoring Sophie, we would sponsor her close friend group—so that’s exactly what we’re doing,” he said. “Sophie and 12 or so of her closest group of friends, who we’ve heard so much about, who have been here for each other throughout these four years, are going to graduate together. We want to celebrate them and help them out in some small way. We are so excited to be able to participate in this big day for all of them.”

The gesture is meaningful to Sophie, as she prepares to embark into her profession. “It means more than just sponsoring my cap and gown,” she said. “He is helping to welcome me into the profession that I’ve had the privilege of watching him thoroughly enjoy for so many years. His generosity in extending that welcome to my friends graduating with me is something that I think exudes who he is as a person. He continues to inspire me as a clinician, father, and person every single day, and I’m very excited to continue learning from him as a colleague.”

Bengson is thrilled to be able to provide support for his fellow dentists—and encourages his peers to do the same.

“Dental school is hard, and some days you feel alone,” he said. “If you can be a positive influence on a young person and help them be successful in our great profession, I say, do it. People you come in contact with along life’s journey will always remember how you make them feel, so why not make them feel good?”