Class of 1998 pledges Give to the Max Match to celebrate 25th anniversary
In honor of the 25th anniversary of their graduation, the DDS Class of 1998 is coming together to do something big: providing a $7,000 match for this year’s Give to the Max Day.
Now in its fifteenth year, Give to the Max Day celebrates the generosity of Minnesotans and raises funds for nonprofits and schools throughout the state. The School of Dentistry seeks donations to increase scholarship support for learners.
This year’s class match, which pledges to double donations dollar-for-dollar up to $7,000 given, is spearheaded by Lisa Johnson, DDS ’98.
Johnson calls the Class of 1998 “an awesome group of eclectic people who endured the highs and lows of dental school, came out victorious and are reaping the benefits of our education and training, enjoying the lives dentistry has provided us.”
For Johnson, dentistry was not an obvious choice. In fact, though she always loved art, biology and science, she first pursued studio art and elementary education. “I found myself wishing more and more that I had pursued the health sciences,” she recalled. Combining her love for art with her love for science through dentistry made perfect sense. “Plus, I really enjoy working with people,” she said, “and the social aspect of dentistry is my favorite part.”
The choice to pursue dentistry led Johnson to the University of Minnesota, where she became involved in Psi Omega. “It was a perfect way to make great friends with all levels of dental students, and it encouraged me to become involved,” she said. She fondly recalls her time in the pre-clinic, getting to know her benchmates on a deep level.
“You certainly go through some rough times together, and being surrounded by great people with a great sense of humor helps you survive,” she said.
And of course, Johnson will never forget the growth she experienced during her clinical training. “My patients came from all ages and backgrounds, and they gave me a whole different kind of education—one that had very little to do with dentistry,” she recalled.
Now, 25 years after graduation, Johnson and her classmates continue to reap the benefits of their education, and she sees it as the perfect time to give back.
“We are reaching the point in our careers where we will be thinking about practice transitions and retirement in the not-too-distant future,” she said. “Helping current dental students with their educational expenses through a class funded scholarship is a way to help promote future colleagues, who will hopefully take the reins from us when the time is right.”
Johnson is grateful for the support from her fellow classmates, and excited to see how much the school can raise for Give to the Max Day.
“I have always felt it is important to give back,” she said. “If we each give a little, the end result will be a lot! This match is a great way to double our impact.”
Give to the Max Day is Thursday, November 16. Learn more and give at z.umn.edu/dengtmd.