The University of Florida College of Dentistry celebrated the Class of 2017 May 19 at the college’s 42nd annual commencement ceremony at the Phillips Center.
The graduates, family and friends enjoyed remarks from Dean A. Isabel Garcia, D.D.S., M.P.H., and Dr. David Guzick, senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health. Dr. Judy Rodriguez-Bec, UFCD alumna and vice president of the Academy of Alumni and Friends, and Dr. William C. D’Aiuto, president of the Florida Dental Association, both joined in the festivities and extended their congratulations to the graduates as special guests of the college.
Asher Adamec, president of the Class of 2017, touched on several of the many accomplishments of the largest class to graduate from the UF College of Dentistry while addressing the crowd, including a 100 percent passing rate on National Boards Part 1, and the class’ philanthropic work, including Super Sealant Saturday.
Garcia praised not only the students for their hard work, but the UFCD faculty as the heart, soul and strength of the college for their contributions and countless hours in classrooms, clinic labs and in the field – teaching, mentoring and advising students and residents in a wide range of areas. Garcia recognized UFCD’s teachers of the year in basic sciences (Neel Bhattacharyya, D.M.D., M.S.) and clinical sciences (Patricia Pereira, D.D.S., Ph.D.), as well as five Excellence in Teaching awards – a new tradition as part of Spotlight on Dental Education Day.
The 2017 D.M.D. class bestowed the honor of placing their academic hoods to Kathleen Neiva, D.D.S., Ph.D., and Rich Kelowitz, D.D.S., while a number of family members also participated in hooding.
A special day for the college ended with an even more memorable moment for Dr. Shaun Bullard, who proposed to Dr. Iris Garcia just moments after officially completing his endodontics residency May 19. Bullard and Garcia both earned their dental degrees at UF.