Passionate, successful, philanthropic. Richard Parent, D.M.D., embodies these traits in a way that makes him stand out as an alumnus of both the College of Dentistry and undergraduate program at the University of Florida.
“There are an infinite number of programs, time, and dollars needed in the community and I try to focus on a handful to try and make an impact,” he said. Parent balances his time between maintaining his own practice and ensuring that he and his staff make a difference in the Gainesville community.
Twice a quarter they visit the Ronald McDonald House and United Way Ministries to provide free dental care.
“It doesn’t bring in new patients, it doesn’t pad our bottom line, but instead it brings happiness in being able to give back to our community,” he said.
Parent’s latest endeavor was being honored as keynote speaker at an event for the Florida Opportunity Scholars Program, an initiative to ensure first-generation college students have the resources to be academically successful during their time at UF.
“I definitely applauded them already for coming so far with making good choices. Nobody in their families went to college before them, they already chose the educational right path and I encouraged them to continue down that path,” he said. He also encouraged the students to find a mentor and become a mentor for those around them in all aspects of life- spiritual, professional, training and personal.
He quotes Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants and I feel that is true for all of us in our lives.”
Parent didn’t let his graduation in 1995 stop him from his dedication to his alma mater. Parent regularly keeps in touch with fellow alumni. “We all are rooted in the same beginnings, you can’t do this profession all on your own, you need people to rely on and it is great to have fellow classmates (and now dentists) to call upon for advice or to discuss the career.”
Since graduation, Parent has invested thousands of hours in continued education for the constantly changing dental profession at both the Pankey and Dawson institutes. However, his educational foundation will always be rooted at UF.
“I learned things at UF that helped prepare me perpetually. I gained knowledge both inside and outside the classroom, in a great place alongside great people that I will forever be grateful for,” he said.