The Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was awash in lavender and emotion on May 15 when the University of Florida College of Dentistry held its 34th Annual Commencement and conferred 82 Doctor of Dental Medicine degrees, 20 advanced degree certificates, and 12 certificates in the Internationally-Educated Dentist Program.
Attending this year’s ceremony were several honored guests including UF President J. Bernard Machen, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.; Ted Haessner, D.M.D., president of the Florida Dental Association; and Steve Bogdanoff, D.M.D., president of the college’s Academy of Alumni & Friends and a Major in the Florida Army National Guard.
Machen conferred the degrees on behalf of the university, congratulated them on their efforts and welcomed them “to the club.”
Dean Teresa Dolan, D.D.S., M.P.H., presided over commencement and said, “We are not saying goodbye to you. As Florida’s newest members of the dental profession and our college’s newest alumni, we expect to see you often.”
Four of the graduates displayed their non-dental talents. Monica Perez, D.M.D., sang a beautiful a cappella rendition of the National Anthem and, to close the ceremony, Dale Benjamin, D.M.D.; Ryan Osorio, D.M.D.; and Heath Parry, D.M.D., led the attendees, in harmony, through UF’s alma mater.
Family and friends of the graduates, and faculty, staff and students of the college packed the center and filled the air with the sounds of their happiness and pride – hoots, hollers, whistles and even one air horn.