Fall 2017

Sailing into the Future

D17s set off to make their mark on the profession.

By Laura Ferguson

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Left: Katerina Dalavurak, D17, gets a hug after being hooded by her mother, Anna Dalavurak, DI99. Right: D17 graduates Joseph Haozhao-Zhang Cheung, Sonia Chheda and Kyu Choi applaud during the ceremony. Photos: Alonso Nichols

At the School of Dental Medicine’s 149th commencement ceremony, Bruce Baum, D71, H17, recalled his first day at Tufts, when he was told that “the goal of a health profession is to eliminate itself.” He never forgot those words.

Baum, who received an honorary degree from Tufts on the morning of the May 21 ceremony, would go on to become a pioneer in gene-transfer strategies. The extraordinary education he received at Tufts, he said, “enabled me to adapt to a career path and a type of clinical practice that I never anticipated when I started dental school in 1967.”

Baum’s gratitude and optimism was one of several forward-looking messages shared with a jubilant Class of 2017 when the School of Dental Medicine awarded 212 Doctor of Dental Medicine degrees, and 18 master’s degrees.

Dean Huw Thomas urged the Class of 2017 to be undaunted and fearless, drawing on a selection from Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, in which the character sees his life reflected in the image of a boat anchored in a harbor with a furled sail—“a boat longing for the sea, and yet afraid,” Thomas said. “The future of our profession is in your hands. Lift your sails.”

Class president Pasquale Eckert also called on his classmates to embrace challenges. “We owe it to ourselves and our patients to keep reading, keep learning, join a journal club, take an excessive amount of CE [continuing education] and ask questions. Dr. Baum is a perfect example of someone who continues to learn and give back to the dental community.” And Moosa Dalwai, president of the class of international students, urged his classmates to build onnections that transcend race, religion, gender, wealth “or anything else that may divide us . . . we are nothing without each other and without this world.”

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