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Graduation 2021

The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry celebrated its commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021 last Friday in Northrop Auditorium.

“The 2021 School of Dentistry Commencement Ceremony will always be marked as a return to more normal activities after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Interim Dean Keith Mays, DDS, MS, PhD, reflected in a letter to the graduates. “This graduation is a celebration of all of your academic accomplishments, and more specifically those achieved here at the School of Dentistry.”

Remembering Maria Pintado

The School of Dentistry mourns the passing of Maria Pintado, associate professor emeritus in the Department of Restorative Sciences and Division of Biomaterials. She passed away peacefully on the evening of April 30, 2021.

The University of Minnesota was a large part of Pintado’s life. After moving to California from Ecuador in high school, she completed an associate of arts degree and a certificate in dental assisting education in 1972.

Beloved educator

School of Dentistry Commencement

The School of Dentistry is proud of all our graduates from the Class of 2021, who surmounted immense challenges to complete their degree programs. Our faculty and staff took a few moments to share their own messages of congratulations. See what they had to say.

DDS Senior Awards

On May 14, 202 students will celebrate their graduation from the School of Dentistry, including 121 students who will cross the stage and become dentists.

The School of Dentistry is immensely proud of this group of students who succeeded in completing their programs despite unprecedented challenges and obstacles. And while we’re disappointed that we can’t celebrate a fully-attended commencement, we’re committed to honoring and celebrating these graduates and their success in every way we can.

Nelson Rhodus, DMD, MPH

Nelson Rhodus, DMD, MPH, director of the division of oral medicine, received a number of accolades recently in recognition of his distinguished work with oral medicine and oral cancer.

Rhodus was elected to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, became an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Oral Medicine, and was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for the Philippine Dental Association, all within one week.

Taylor Mikkalson

When Taylor Mikkalson graduates from the DDS program at the University of Minnesota in May, she’ll have a different job than most students waiting for her.

As her classmates go off to practice in various settings, Mikkalson will say goodbye to her undergraduate and graduate alma mater and head to the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Eastside Family Dental Clinic

A School of Dentistry Outreach site was recognized as a 2020 Clinical Training Site of Excellence by the University of Minnesota’s Office of Academic Clinical Affairs.

Minnesota Community Care, a full-healthcare clinic organization, was one of sixteen sites to receive the award this year. Clinical Training Sites of Excellence are nominated by faculty and program directors, and are judged based on their creativity, flexibility, persistence, role modeling, and transparency.

Annika Johnson, DDS '22

Annika Johnson, DDS ’22, is the University of Minnesota’s recipient of the William H. Bell Award for Predoctoral Achievement in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for 2021. She was nominated for the award by Rachel Uppgaard, DDS, on behalf of her significant contributions to the division of oral and maxillofacial surgery and her research within the division.

OACA Interprofessional Internship Program Fireside Chat

Interim Dean Keith Mays joined an Office of Academic Clinical Affairs fireside chat for interprofessional interns in April, along with Laura Molgaard, DVM, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Bobbi Daniels, MD, associate vice president for Clinical Affairs.

Sheila Riggs, DDS, MS, DMSc

Sheila Riggs, DDS, MS, DMSc, is a recipient of the 2021 President’s Award for Outstanding Service, President Joan Gabel announced in April.

The University of Minnesota President's Award for Outstanding Service was established in 1997 to recognize faculty and staff who have provided exceptional service to the University, its schools, colleges, departments and service units. Such service must have gone well beyond the regular duties of a faculty or staff member, and demonstrate unusual commitment to the University community.

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