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.

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.

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.

Beth Groenke, DDS, MS

A graduate student in the School of Dentistry’s Division of TMD and Orofacial Pain received the INfORM Samuel F Dworkin Predoctoral Award for her research into the use of MRIs in oral health diagnosis.

The International Association for Dental Research granted the award to Beth Groenke, DDS, MS, for a presentation given virtually to the International Network for Orofacial pain & Related disorders Methodology (INfORM) conference originally scheduled for 2020, but held virtually instead.

Amanda Abbott

Amanda Abbott’s first day of college came with a lot of change.

The BSDH ’21 candidate’s start at the University of Minnesota was her first day in a big city, her first day of in-person education, and her first time away from her family for an extended amount of time. But she made the leap, moving away from her small town and her 11 siblings with whom she’d been homeschooled because she knew her education would be worth it—and she was ready.

Professor of the Year Gary Anderson, DDS, MS

Gary Anderson, DDS, MS, was named University of Minnesota School of Dentistry 2020 Century Club Professor of the Year during Research Day on March 5, 2021.

Interim Dean Keith Mays introduced the honor during the 17th annual and first virtual Research Day. "One of the things that is special about Gary, in addition to his broad intellectual knowledge, he has a capacity to relate to people on a human level which is so important as a senior leader," Mays reflected. 

Conrado Aparicio, PhD, MSc Eng

Conrado Aparicio, PhD, MSc Eng will be inducted into the 2021 cohort of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the organization announced this week.