Kathy Newell Receives Top Honors from University of Minnesota Alumni Association

Kathleen Newell Receives Top Honors from University of Minnesota Alumni Association

Kathy Newell


Kathleen Newell, four-time University of Minnesota alumna and faculty-emerita of the School of Dentistry, received the University’s prestigious Alumni Service Award at a celebratory event on September 26, 2013, at the McNamara Alumni Center. The award was conferred by the University’s Board of Regents, upon recommendation of the School of Dentistry, the University Alumni Association and the All-University Honors Committee.

Newell’s contributions––as a leader in state and national professional organizations, shaper of the school’s dental hygiene programs, educator, and researcher and as a consultant to international dental hygiene programs––are an inspiration to those who know her. On faculty since 1969 until her retirement in 2005, she worked passionately to build the school’s program into the premier educational platform it is today. Her vision for promoting the growth and evolution of the dental hygiene profession led to a restructuring of the Graduate Dental Hygiene Degree program into a bachelor’s degree program, and the more recent launch of the master’s degree program in dental hygiene (MDH). Well before inter-professional education became the vogue, she forged partnerships with the School of Education and School of Public Health to the benefit of MDH students preparing for academic careers.

When confronted by domestic violence issues with dental hygiene students, Newell partnered with the Program Against Sexual Violence (now The Aurora Center), and was integral in the development of a response program to better educate dental and dental hygiene students, and practitioners how to interact with patients affected by domestic violence. She was involved in the development and application of the Violence Intervention Model for Dental Professionals program and CD, which is still in use today.

Newell’s passion for education also led to a long-standing international collaboration with the Ernst Moritz Arndt University in Greifswald, Germany and the formation of an international dental hygiene continuing education program there. The program––which celebrates its 20th year in 2013––enriches dental hygienists’ and dentists’ clinical skills while promoting the University of Minnesota and the profession of dental hygiene. Also under her leadership, the 1919 Society was formed to engage alumni in support of the Division of Dental Hygiene, and dental hygiene was established as an integral component of the School of Dentistry Alumni Society.

Newell is the former director of the Division of Dental Hygiene (1987-2005). Before that she was acting division director (1984-86), head of the Bachelor Degree Completion Program in Dental Hygiene (1975-2004), an instructor (1971-76), and a teaching assistant in the Program in Dental Hygiene (1969-71). She holds a graduate dental hygiene degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a doctorate in education from the University of Minnesota.

In addition to this award, Newell has received the School of Dentistry Professor of the Year award, honorary membership in Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the Warner-Lambert/ADHA Award for Excellence in Dental Hygiene, Dental Hygiene Distinguished Alumna Award, and election to Sigma Phi Alpha (National Dental Hygiene Honor Society), among others.

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  • Last modified on September 30, 2013