Alumni Weekend 2012: Celebrating the Past, Present, & Future of GSDM

alumni_reception-valades-sabbagh-200For alums of the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM), BU’s Alumni Weekend 2012 was great in many ways. The days were jam-packed not only with impressive and rousing festivities, but also included productive collaboration, strategic planning, recognition of alumni achievements, and valuable networking.

For BU and for GSDM, the 2012 alumni weekend was uniquely exciting, with the official launch of the first University-wide fundraising campaign. The ultimate goal of the $1 billion campaign is to provide opportunity, enhance knowledge, and enrich student life at BU.

On Friday, September 21, 2012, both the GSDM Dean’s Advisory Board and the GSDM Alumni Board met. Both boards had fruitful meetings, and both also enjoyed a Campaign Leadership Luncheon with Dean of the Medical School and Provost of the Medical Campus Karen Antman along with the members of the School of Medicine Dean’s Advisory Board and Alumni Association. Although many topics were discussed at these events, the main topic of discussion was the Boston University Fundraising Campaign.

Friday’s activities concluded with an elegant evening reception at the Four Seasons Hotel, hosted by Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter and his wife, Kathleen.

Many hugs were exchanged as the guests arrived at the reception hall. There were a grand total of 128 guests, with roughly 50 alums, 40 guests, 25 students, and 12 faculty and staff members (some of whom were also alums).

Upon arrival from having just attended the BU Campaign Kick-off Gala with several members of his Dean’s Advisory Board on the Charles River Campus and after everyone had had some time to mingle and enjoy hors d’oeuvres, Dean Hutter was introduced by outgoing President of the GSDM Alumni Board and Clinical Assistant Professor of General Dentistry Dr. Tina Valades, who recognized the gathered alumni.

Dean Hutter then addressed the audience, speaking about the great strides the School is making to implement the GSDM Applied Strategic Plan, including curriculum improvement, fundraising efforts, and the goal of designing and constructing a new GSDM facility.

Dean Hutter then presented the GSDM Service to the Community Award to Frank P. Casarella DMD 88, AEGD 89:

Dr. Frank P. Casarella received his Doctor of Dental Medicine from Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine in 1988. After receiving his Doctor of Dental Medicine, Dr. Casarella joined the Department of Prosthodontics at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine as a clinical instructor and began a general dentistry practice in Seekonk, Massachusetts. Dr. Casarella held his position at the Henry M. School of Dental Medicine through 1992.

Dean Hutter continued:

For the last ten years, Dr. Casarella—persisting with the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine mission of “promoting community service to improve the overall health of the global population”—has been active with Northeast Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity, an organization that includes dentists among other health professionals in providing care to people who cannot afford or obtain it.

Dr. Casarella has been participating in healthcare missions to Nicaragua since 2001. This April, he worked with this same organization in Bristol, Tennessee, an event that was covered in a three-day news story by Channel 6 News in Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Casarella has said that, sadly, the U.S. patients he has seen are as bad off as patients in Central America, in terms of their oral healthcare needs. Dr. Casarella has plans to continue his missions providing dental service to those in need.

Upon receiving his award, Dr. Casarella briefly addressed the audience.

Dean Hutter then presented the second Service to the Community Award to Elliott D. Maser PEDO 75:

Dr. Maser holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Temple University. He received his post-graduate training at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, earning a Master of Science in Dentistry and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Pediatric Dentistry in 1975.

Dean Hutter continued:

Dr. Maser is very active in his local community, both in recreation and charitable outreach. He has worked to support the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry in their outreach programs and has also served as the Vice President of his synagogue for the last five years.

Dr. Maser has managed a private practice in Pediatric Dentistry since 1975 and has held a hospital appointment at Children’s Hospital Philadelphia since 1976.

Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Associate Dean for Advanced Education and International Programs Dr. Kilgore—as Chair of GSDM’a 50th Anniversary Celebration Planning Group—spoke about the upcoming, yearlong Anniversary Celebration of GSDM’s 50 years as a dental school.

The program then proceeded with a “passing of the gavel” from the President of the Alumni Association Dr. Tina Valades to the incoming President, Dr. Mitch Sabbagh.

Dr. Valades said:

As Alumni Association President and Alumni Board Chairperson, it is my honor to pass the gavel to Dr. Mitch Sabbagh. Dr. Sabbagh has been in private practice in Manhattan, NY, since graduating from the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine in 1987 and has been a member of the Alumni Board for over 20 years. He has also co-managed the successful GSDM NYC Alumni Club with Dr. Maddy Apfel for approximately the past 20 years.

Dr. Valades concluded by saying, “Congratulations Mitch, I know you will be a great alumni president!”

Dr. Sabbagh took the podium to say that Dr. Valades had “blazed the trail for me to follow in her footsteps.” He stated that the next two years would be hard work, but good work and that he looks forward to reaching out to alumni and having alumni reach out to him.

In addition to taking over as President of the GSDM Alumni Association, Dr. Sabbagh has also recently joined the faculty, volunteering his expertise as a Clinical Instructor of Pre-Clinical Fixed Prosthetics in the Department of General Dentistry. As President of the GSDM Alumni Association, Dr. Sabbagh will also join the Dean’s Advisory Board. Dean Hutter also thanked Dr. Valades for the outstanding job she did as President of the GSDM Alumni Association and in so doing presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

Dean Hutter closed:

It is truly an honor and a privilege for me to serve as the Dean of our Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, and Kathleen and I look forward to working with each and every one of you as we go forward in our Fundraising Campaign and in so doing realizing together our vision for the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine to be the premier Center of Excellence in Oral Health Education, Research, and Patient Care in this nation.

On Saturday morning—at the Alumni Leadership Advisory Forum Meeting— even more recognition was in store for the GSDM family. The School won in two categories of the Alumni Networks Awards presented at the meeting.

In the award category of Community Service, GSDM won for its Special Olympics Special Smile’s mission to increase access to dental care for Special Olympics athletes and all people with intellectual disabilities. Along with other dental and hygiene schools, GSDM volunteers gave dental screenings, handed out toothbrushes and mouth guards at the Massachusetts Summer Games.

In the award category of Student Engagement, GSDM won for their annual Pre-doctoral Ice Cream Social, sponsored by alums Craig Allen and wife Nicole Paquette. The Social helps students, staff, faculty, and a few alumni to get to know each other and forge special relationships.

The most anticipated event of the weekend—Celebration of BU!— was presented on Saturday evening at the Agganis Arena. The Celebration marked the official launch of the University-wide fundraising campaign. GSDM students, faculty, staff, and friends sat together to enjoy an array of treats, including performances by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Boston University Gospel Choir, professional skaters and aerialists along with a wonderful light show projected on the ice as it depicted the history of Boston University.

To top off an already extraordinary day, Dean and Mrs. Hutter welcomed a total of 60 alumni, family, faculty, and staff to a Dessert Reception at the 930 Commonwealth Avenue at the Boston University Dental Health Center. Attendees also were provided guided tours of the Dental Health Center by Dr. Margaret Errante, Director of the Center.

Alumni festivities continued through Sunday.

In sum, BU Alumni Weekend 2012 will be one to remember.

Photos of the Friday night reception can be found in two Flickr albums, Album 1 and Album 2, and in two Facebook albums, Album 1 and Album 2.

Celebration of BU! photos can also be found on Facebook and Flickr.

Photos of the Dessert Reception are on Facebook and Flickr.