Orientation celebrates 134 incoming clinical learners

Two learners sit at a table and talk

Learners in the DDS Class of 2027, Dental Therapy Class of 2026 and Dental Hygiene Class of 2025 gathered in the Health Sciences Education Center and Moos Tower for orientation on August 9 and 10, 2023.

A total of 134 learners joined the two-day, in-person session to get to know one another, learn about the school and prepare for their first semester as School of Dentistry students. 

Dean Keith Mays speaks to a crowd of students

Dean Keith Mays, DDS, MS, PhD, began the first day by welcoming the new classes and offering a preview of what their time in the school would look like.

“I am so excited that you are here, and I hope you’re excited too,” he said. “Dentistry has been so good to me, and I know it will be good to you, too. There is so much that you can do: you can research, pursue public health, private practice, teaching…there are so many opportunities for you. No matter what, you will make a great impact in your community with all the things that you do.”

Susan Wold speaks to a group of students

Following Mays’s welcome, Assistant Director of Admissions Susan Wold, MS, and Admissions Counselor Chris Held, MEd, thanked the students for their hard work as they transitioned from applicants to students. Recalling thousands of emails, hundreds of phone calls and 247 interviews on 35 interview days, the two expressed their excitement and shared key statistics gathered about each class. 

The first day also included presentations on interprofessional opportunities, study habits, disability resources and class schedules. Learners had an opportunity to explore various student groups and opportunities at an involvement fair, followed by a lunch with current students and faculty. Finally, upperclass members took groups of incoming students on tours of key locations in HSEC, Moos Tower and beyond. 

Students participate in a tandem ski walking activity

The second day of orientation included an introduction to student affairs and information on the first year, the code of conduct, ethics and mental health resources. The afternoon challenged learners to flex their teamwork muscles, gathering in small groups to compete in physical activities like tower building, relay races and trust exercises. The day ended with a social gathering where new classmates got to spend time with one another and enjoy each other’s company. 

As the 134 newest School of Dentistry learners settle into their new home and prepare for their journey, we offer a heartfelt congratulations and welcome to the community. 


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