GSDM Commencement Speaker Dr. Judith Jones: You Have the Right Stuff to Be Happy

June 10, 2014

AS valedictorian Anna Boyakhchyan

AS valedictorian Anna Boyakhchyan

On Friday, May 16, 2014, 191 DMD students and 79 post-doctoral students received their degrees at the 2014 Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) Convocation, held at the Walter Brown Arena.

Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter began the ceremony with a moment of silence in memory of Mrs. Rhoda Frankl, who passed away on Sunday, January 26. Mrs. Frankl, the wife of Dean Spencer N. Frankl, proudly served as the First Lady of the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine for 30 years. “She will be dearly missed,” said Dean Hutter.

Dean Hutter led a second moment of silence for the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. “We as a University and a School of Dental Medicine continue to be Boston Strong and Mrs. Hutter and I could not be more proud of how you and your colleagues who may not be here this afternoon reacted and coped with this horrific event and its aftermath,” said Dean Hutter.

Reverend Dr. Robert Allan Hill, Dean of Marsh Chapel, then offered his guidance with an invocation.

To the graduates, Dean Hutter said, “By receiving your degrees and certificates, you have earned the chance to uphold our and now your school’s Core Values of Respect, Truth, Responsibility, Fairness and Compassion, and have a positive impact on the dental profession and the overall health of the patients you care for.”

“Your education does not end here; you will continue to learn about the ever-changing profession of dentistry throughout your careers,” He continued. “Through practice, research, and teaching, you will make contributions to the future of the profession.”

For the first time, the valedictorian of the DMD Advanced Standing Program class was honored alongside the valedictorian of the four-year DMD Program. The 2014 DMD and AS valedictorians are, respectively, Kelsey Hill and Anna Boyakhchyan.

In her valedictorian address, Hill recalled, year by year, the challenges she and her classmates surmounted in dental school. Hill said, “And here we are, beginning the next chapter of our lives.” She continued, “As we divide onto our own paths, it will be our education and experiences here at BU that will help navigate our way.”

Boyakhchyan acknowledged three fundamental supports that shaped her time at GSDM: Boston University and the great city to which it owes its name, her family and friends, and her fellow students—the graduating class of 2014. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated,” Boyakhchyan said, quoting Oscar Wilde. “And while I claim that we all are a bit overdressed today, we will continue learning till the rest of our lives, as there’s always opportunity to improve and learn more.”

Dean Hutter presented the Spencer N. Frankl Award for Excellence in Teaching to two distinguished faculty: Dr. Thomas Kilgore, Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, and Dr. William Lehman, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the Boston University School of Medicine and Faculty Member for the Cellular Biophysics Program at Boston University.

Dr. Judith Jones delivered the keynote address. Dr. Jones holds the following positions at GSDM: Assistant Dean for Faculty Development, Director of the Center for Clinical Research, and Professor in the Department of Health Policy & Health Services Research and the Department of General Dentistry.

Dr. Jones shared with the graduates some ideas that have shaped her career and her wishes for their shared future. Dr. Jones elaborated on the following pieces of advice: Continue to be a lifelong learner; Strive for excellence in everything that you do; Recognize new opportunities when they appear; Serve your community; Give back to your profession and School and be an ambassador for BU.

Dr. Jones also pointed out to the graduates that they “have the right stuff to be happy”—this according to a measure outlined by Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers. He said, “It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy…three things—autonomy, complexity and a connection between effort and reward—are qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.” Dr. Jones went on to describe how the dental profession satisfies each of these three criteria.

DMD Class of 2014 President Wyatt Traina and AS Class of 2014 President Rajiv Tuladhar presented the 2014 Class Gift to Dean Hutter. Collectively, the DMD and AS classes reached 100 percent participation and a Class Gift totaling $3743.92, the highest amount to date donated to the School by the graduating class.

Dean Hutter said, “Thank you very much Wyatt and Rajiv, and on behalf of all the faculty, staff, and students both present and future, I want to thank the members of the 2014 Class for contributing to this very special gift to our school.”

The 2014 pre- and post-doctoral graduates each then made the momentous march across the stage to receive their Certificates of Advanced Graduate Study and diplomas. Ten alums and one faculty member were brought onstage to present diplomas to graduating family members. Presenters included Craig Allen DMD 95, who presented to his niece, Jennifer Allen DMD 14; Philip Badalamenti ORTHO 80, who presented to his daughter AnneMarie Baldamenti ORTHO 14; Ray English, Jr. DMD 83, who presented to his son Ray English III DMD 14; Jose Jimenez PROS 85, who presented to his son Andres Jimenez PERIO 14; Ted Lee SDM 86, who presented to his son James E. Lee DMD 14; Shahrzad Shahbazian DMD 96 and Amir O. Shahbazian DMD 88, who presented to their son Cameron Shahbazian DMD 14; Dr. Diego Romero PROS 12, who presented to his wife Mariana Velazquez OMFS 14;  faculty member Dr. Ira Weinberg, who presented to his daughter, Erica Weinberg DMD 14; and Clair Chang DMD 07, PROS 12, who presented to her fiancé, Bradley Woland ORTHO 14.

Dean Hutter then led the Class of 2014 in a recitation of the Professional Oath. Reverend Dr. Robert Allan Hill closed the 2014 GSDM Convocation with a benediction.

Photos are available on Facebook and Flickr.