“Receiving a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree is rigorous in its own right, without the addition of a once-in-a-century pandemic. Through it all you maintained your focus and dedication, honing your skills and providing best-in-class patient care, while also enduring dramatic life events.” —School of Dental Medicine Dean Kenneth Chance (DEN ‘79), DDS
On Friday, May 28, despite the rain, the School of Dental Medicine Class of 2021 gathered together at Freiberger Field to celebrate the culmination of their achievements. This special day marked an important milestone for our DMD students as they completed an academic journey unlike any other.
Over the course of their third and fourth years, these students adapted to sudden closures and evolving health protocols. They endured dramatic changes to classroom and clinical experiences, as well as the isolation, fear and uncertainty that COVID-19 imposed on so many.
“What you have accomplished is remarkable,” said Chance during his commencement address. “It is a testament to your commitment to dentistry, strength of purpose and passion for helping others.”
Thanks to the exceptional effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, the university was able to host nine in-person commencement ceremonies throughout May. The dental school celebration event included remarks from Dean Chance, Vice Dean Dale Baur, Class of 2021 President Nivien Masoud and Student Council President Jin Yeop Kim.
“Becoming a doctor teaches you the responsibility of selflessly putting aside your personal pains in order to give the precious life sitting in your chair the best dental care they deserve,” said Masoud.
“As we graduate today to become dentists and leaders for our community and beyond, I hope you find your own self as the inspiration to be brave, passionate, and most importantly, never be afraid to fail because your four years here and your diploma are the example of your success built by your dedications, perseverance, and also built by many failures,” said Kim.
Unfortunately, due to unfavorable weather conditions, the in-person ceremony was abbreviated—with the virtual keynote address by National Dental Association President Pamela Alston, DDS, MPP, as well as remarks from Alumni Association Board of Directors President Scott Alperin, DDS (DEN ’74) and President of the Greater Cleveland Dental Association Kari Cunningham, DMD, FAAPD (DEN ‘10, DEN ‘12), delivered in the full recap video featured below.