School of Dentistry hosts 122nd Graduation Ceremony


Dr. Raymond Gist, president of the American Dental Association, added a memorable moment to the graduation ceremonies at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry when he delivered the 2011 commencement address before a crowd of 1,000 graduates and their guests at the school’s 122nd graduation exercises.

"The world around us continues to change,” he said as he challenged the new graduates to consider the question ‘What next?’

Gist shared his vision about a spirit of collaboration and of working together to face challenges that inspire forward-thinking careers. Acknowledging changes in traditional practice patterns, he commented on the rewards of dental practice in rural communities and public health settings and noted, “A generation ago, most of you would be looking to enter private practice soon after graduation … but today, a much larger percentage of you will spend your careers in academic, research, group practices, the armed services, or in public health venues.”

Gist also shared the story of his own professional growth that led him to become the first African-American to lead the profession’s 157,000-member strong organization. “Issues, including access to dental care for our underserved population, the rapidly changing demographics in dentistry, managing and eliminating debt, restructuring the dental public health infrastructure in this country, globalization, health care reform, and treatment for our expanding elderly population will impact you as you make decisions about your future,” he said. “You should note that our beloved dental profession is at the forefront.”

Gist concluded his remarks with an acknowledgment of dentistry’s bright future. ‘Thank you for being part of the future of a strong and vibrant profession,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what your generation brings to our profession.”

The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry conferred degrees on 104 new general dentists, 30 graduates of advanced education programs and three new Ph.Ds, 23 new dental hygienists, and four graduates of the Mater of Dental Hygiene Program.

Listen to Dr. Gist’s speech.

Watch Dr. Gist's speech. 

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  • Last modified on July 20, 2012