2018 UB School of Dental Medicine Commencement, Part 1 of 3

2018 UB School of Dental Medicine Commencement, Part 1 of 3

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(“Pomp and Circumstance”) – Please be seated. At this time I’d like to
introduce Dr. Patrick Batista, Educator of the Year, mace-bearer, who will officially open our ceremony. (audience applauding and cheering) – University at Buffalo
President Tripathi, Dean Zambon, Senator Young,
and distinguished guests; the candidates for
degrees and certificates, the faculty/staff family and
friends of the candidates are all now assembled. I hereby declare the
commencement exercises of the University of Buffalo
School of Dental Medicine to be officially opened. (audience applauding) – Good evening, or late afternoon. It’s a distinct pleasure
for me to welcome you to this graduation exercise. My name is Donald Antonson,
and I’m the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and
I will serve as the herald for this ceremony. I personally want to welcome all of you to this 126th Commencement of the School of Dental Medicine. Family members, especially graduates, you should sit back, relax; we haven’t told you to do
that for a while (mumbles). Put a giant smile on your face. Look around this
auditorium, take it all in. This commencement will become one of your life’s remembered events, so we congratulate you. Please rise for the
national anthem being sung by Ashley Madueski, who is the member of the Class of 2019. Everybody remove your caps. (“Star-Spangled Banner” ♪ O say can you see ♪ ♪ By the dawn’s early light ♪ ♪ What so proudly we hailed ♪ ♪ At the twilight’s last gleaming ♪ ♪ Whose broad stripes and bright stars ♪ ♪ Through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ O’er the ramparts we watched ♪ ♪ Were so gallantly streaming ♪ ♪ And the rocket’s red glare ♪ ♪ The bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ Gave proof through the night ♪ ♪ That our flag was still there ♪ ♪ O say does that star-spangled ♪ ♪ Banner yet wave ♪ ♪ O’er the land of the free ♪ ♪ And the home of the brave ♪ (audience applauding) – Please be seated. Thank you, Ashley. Not only does she have a great voice, but she’s gonna be a great dentist too. It is a great honor for me
at this time to introduce the dean of the School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Joseph J. Zambon. (audience applauding) – Welcome, everyone, to this
our School of Dental Medicine’s 124th Commencement,
during which we will be conferring doctor of
dental surgery degrees, master’s degrees, and advanced
education certificates to over 150 students. We’re all very glad that
you are here with us today to celebrate our graduates’ achievements and to recognize their hard
work over the past few years. And for the first time our
ceremony is being live-streamed over the internet, so we want to welcome the friends and families
who could not be here who are participating with us online. Now please join me in
welcoming the 15th president of the University of Buffalo,
President Satish Tripathi. (audience applauding) – Good evening. I would like to offer a warm welcome and a heartfelt thank you to the parents, family members and
friends joining us today. I also want to recognize
our distinguished speaker, New York State Senator, Cathy Anne. Welcome.
(audience applauding) Your graduates have come
this far in no small part thank to your thoughtful guidance and your steady support. And today we gather to recognize your graduates’ achievements
for the milestone it is and to celebrate the
culmination of their hard work. With that, let me be among the first to wish the 2018 Class of
UB School of Dental Medicine congratulations.
(audience applauding) You have come a long way,
your journey to today has been marked by dedication
and perhaps frustration. By study and self-reflection,
by trial and error, and by more late nights that
you may care to remember, along the way you embraced
new modes of thinking. You debated issues from different angles, you transferred your classroom learning to real-world challenges. You found your purpose and
you pursued your passion. Throughout this transformative
process of enlightenment, you have gained priceless knowledge about your field of study,
and just as important, about yourself. So if I asked you, Class of 2018, to single out the most important aspect of your academic program that has brought you education to life, what would that be? Don’t worry, this is not a test. But as you embark on the
next phase of your life, it is a question worth pondering. Although it has been
many years since I sat where you sit today, I would argue that our
most profound learnings do not just take place in a lecture hall. We do not read them in a textbook, or discover them inside the lab. They don’t come to us out in the field. Truth be told, education
cannot be captured in a single moment. It is ongoing, continuous,
and constantly evolving. And with every stride we take,
we seek a true understanding of respect, of respect given, and of respect earned. Respect, compassion, integrity, and justice are cornerstones
of UB’s guiding principles. We respect each other, even when we have divergent life experiences. We respect those in our care by treating them compassionately. And we respect what we have
learned by putting that precious knowledge to its best use, namely to address society’s
most pressing problems. Your UB education, truly the entire scope of your UB example, has
elevated your consciousness about the world around you. It has primed your sense of civic, professional and ethical responsibility, values you will tap everyday of your life. It has took your sense of purpose, in these, your since of greater purpose. At the start of the
academic year we welcomed to campus Malala Yousafzai, the education right activist
who has earned respect the world over for her
courage and her convictions. When Malala accepted the Noble Peace Prize in 2014, she noted that
progress and development, they’re happening only in
certain parts of the world. However, Malala said,
“There are many countries “where millions suffer
from a very old problem “of war, poverty and injustice.” Malala continued in saying: “Let us become the first
become the first generation “to decide to be the last
that sees empty classrooms, “lost childhoods and wasted potentials.” It is my sincerest hope
that your UB education has provided you with the
intellectual resources, resources grounded in respect, compassion, integrity and justice to do not only good things with your life, but to do great things with your life. Throughout your education
you have already done much in this regard. For instance, we have
witnessed how you have conducted important
research in biomaterials, increased access to
quality over healthcare among children and veterans, and treated all your
patients not only with the great care, but with
great dignity and empathy. Your dedication here has set the stage for the rest of your life. It is your time to put your
imprint on the world around you by contributing to the world around you. Class of 2018, I have every confidence that as you go out into the world, you will make it better, brighter place. We look forward to seeing the impact of all of your accomplishments. Congratulations on your great achievement, and all best wishes for the road ahead. Thank you.
(audience applauding) – Thank you, President Tripathi. Now it’s a pleasure and a privilege to introduce today’s commencement speaker, New York State Senator Catherine Young. One of Western New York’s
fiercest advocates, and is chair of the Finance Committee, one of the state legislature’s
most powerful leaders. Senator Young represents
the 57th District, which includes Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties, and
half of Livingston County. She was first elected
to the Senate in 2005 after serving in the state
assembly for several years. Increasing access to healthcare has been among Senator
Young’s top priorities, a commitment that has driven
many significant achievements. She authored New York’s landmark law, establishing reimbursement
for telehealth services. She has also fought to
prevent hospital closures and strengthen the healthcare network across her rural district. A key part of those efforts has been her strong support of the
School of Dental Medicine’s Rural Dentistry Pilot Program and its mobile dental van. Senator Young saw that one of the greatest healthcare challenges in her region was lack of access to
dental care for children. She also saw that our program represented tremendous potential to
address this problem. That was in 2014, and the start of a valued partnership that has advanced our mission as well as the health of
thousands of children. A tireless advocate, Senator Young has secured more than $1
million in state funding for this program over the past four years, helping it grow beyond our expectations. Her support has also spotlighted this innovative model of healthcare at a time when creative solutions have never been more critical. It is a true honor to
have her with us today. Please welcome Senator Cathy Young. (audience applauding) – Thank you, Dean Zambon,
for that kind introduction, and I want to say personally, thank you so much for
everything that you’ve done to make sure that our
Rural Dentistry program is a success. And I also wanna give special greetings to President Tripathi. He truly is a leader not
only in Western New York, but across the entire state. And it’s not just what he
does here at the university, but also what he’s done for
the Western New York economy. So thank you so much
for those steps forward. I also wanna say that President Tripathi has great stamina and endurance because it’s my understanding that this is his second commencement of the day. So he is truly committed to the cause. Thank you also to the
distinguished members of the faculty, staff, administration, family members, guests,
and the Class of 2018. It is, you can applaud for
yourselves if you want. (audience applauding)
In fact, I think you should. You know, it truly is
an honor and a privilege to be with you today to recognize and to celebrate the accomplishments that you have achieved. First and foremost, I say
to you, congratulations. Congratulations to the graduates
of the UB Dental School on your remarkable achievement. You’ve attained an educational pinnacle that few reach; relish this moment. Congratulations to the faculty,
staff, and administrators whose expertise, commitment
and personal investment in each student’s success
made today possible. And last, but certainly not least, congratulations to your families; your parents who have
loved you, supported you and encouraged you in this journey. Now I know your parents, if
you think about this today, you remember changing the diapers, you remember the 2:00 am feedings, you remember nursing your children through the chicken pox or some other ailments. And I don’t know about you, but all of a sudden when my three children got into high school, my middle initials changed to ATM. So I’m sure you can relate to that too. But for your parents, today
is one of the proudest moments in their lives. And graduates, please thank your families, they deserve it. Let’s give them some applause. (audience applauding) You know, actually the
road that you’ve got, that you actually took
to get to this moment was a long and difficult one. So difficult that you may
have wondered at times, was it worth it? Believe me, it was. You are entering not
only a noble profession, but a critical one. As stated by former US Surgeon
General, C. Everett Koop, he said, quote, “You can’t be healthy “without good oral health.” And in the last 15 years,
a huge body of research has reinforced that statement. Poor oral health has been
linked to heart disease, diabetes, complications during pregnancy, and even mental health issues. And you know this as graduates. And as we know in centuries past, poor oral health was a leading cause of death and illness. Death from dental
infections was so frequent in the 1600s in London, England that teeth were continually listed as the fifth or sixth
leading cause of death. Hippocrates attributed a case of arthritis being cured to the pulling of a tooth. George Washington, the
father of our nation, is well known to have
suffered from chronic pain and embarrassment from
decay and loss of his teeth. So we have, we have come
a long way since then. Over the past 50 years,
advances in research, education, and the dentistry profession have resulted in marked improvements in the nation’s oral health. But there’s further to go. A lack of dental care is still a problem in some regions of America,
including communities just a few miles from we are today. And that is my district,
and I am so grateful and so happy and so
proud of the partnership that I’ve had with the UB Dental School in establishing the Rural Dental program. Because in my area, in
Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany and Livingston counties, we have wonderful communities. We have fantastic people, warm, willing to reach out a
hand to people in need. But we also struggle in so many places with abject rural poverty,
isolated communities. And this project that we have put together has truly, truly, truly made a difference. Chautauqua County, which is
in my district, as I said, has the third highest rate
of childhood tooth decay in all of New York
State; think about that. These children are at a
higher risk for oral diseases, infections, longterm healthcare problems, and impaired cognitive
and social development. A scarcity of dentists in
these rural communities and poverty has resulted in oral health, in poor oral health for many residents that is similar to what was experienced in centuries gone by. And I have seen this first hand. In my travels around my district, I’ve spoken with the heads of hospitals and emergency departments who have said it is not uncommon to
see children and adults show up in the emergency
rooms with serious oral infections that could’ve
easily been prevented with basic dental healthcare. That is why I’ve been such
an enthusiastic supporter of our Rural Health program,
and our mobile dental van. Bringing care directly
to residents of these underserved areas is unquestionably the most effective means
of delivering services to those in need, particularly children. And I wanna thank each and
every graduate here today for your contributions and work in the Rural Dentistry program. You have been on the front
lines in delivering care to the children served by this program, and your expertise, your
compassion and dedication has helped make this program incredibly valuable and successful. I’ve made it a point to
not only secure funding for the program but to visit the van often to see you in action. I will never forget one
child who came for health. The majority of her teeth were decayed; they were actually rotted to the gums, and nobody knew. She was suffering from a
serious active infection, and by the way, this child
was only six years old. Because she was able to get
service at the dental van that day, she was able
to receive treatment that potentially saved her life. That is just one story
among countless others that underscore how critically important this initiative is. Thank you for every minute, if you’ve been on the dental van, that you’ve spent helping children, veterans
and others in need to receive dental care. Your actions improve their
health and their quality of life. And that leads me to my
first piece of advice as you embark on your
professional journey, and that is: be of service. You are exceptional, unique individuals, and I have no doubt that
your years of hard work and schooling will bring you
the success that you deserve. But as one who has served
my community and our state for several years, I
can attest that choosing to live a life of service is one of the greatest
paths to fulfillment. To me, service is our greatest duty and our greatest reward. I know that spark of service has been lit during your time here. The dean has shared
with me that this class has been tremendously
committed to outreach in places near and far. Your good works have touched
the lives here at home, on the Seneca Nation Territory, at community centers,
schools, churches and shelters here in Erie County. Your good works have touched
the lives of rural residents in my district as well
as rural populations in remote regions of Appalachia and Tennessee and Virginia. Still others have brought
their skills to distant places such as the Dominican Republic, Senegal, and to Syrian refugees and Greece. How profound is that? Service is clearly part
of the educational DNA of this graduating class. Along with my heartfelt
gratitude for your service, my message to you is to continue to be of service in some way. Even if you do not choose to
make service your profession, make it a part of your life. You will never regret it. Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr. put it this way, he said: “Everybody can be great “because anyone can serve.” I encourage each of you to
continually ask yourself what Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. referred to as life’s most persistent
and urgent question: What am I doing for others? Each of you here today has already shown a wonderful dedication to service. As your life takes its
inevitable twists and turns, and believe me it will, I hope that you will continue to make time for others, not only for
their sake but your own. The second message is to be persistent. If service is the hallmark
of life well lived, persistence is the fuel of
the progress and character. Persistence made today possible. Your graduation is the
culmination of years of grueling hard work, and you know this. It is a testament to your strength and to your discipline. I wish I could tell you the
hard part is behind you, but I cannot. Struggles and setbacks are a part of life. But what I can tell you
is to be persistent. Do not succumb, overcome. Consider the career path
of one of my sources of inspiration, Abraham Lincoln. He was no stranger to failure. His total amount of formal education was less than one year. At the age of seven, he was forced to work to support his family. At nine, his mother died. At 22, he lost his job as a store clerk. At 23, he went into debt as
a partner in a small store. Then in his first campaign
for the state legislature, he finished eight out of 13 candidates. In a campaign for Congress, I’m sorry, in a campaign document he
stated that if he were to lose, he was too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined. In 1835, he was engaged to be married, but his sweetheart died
and his heart was broken. Less than a year after that, he suffered a nervous breakdown. By age 35, he had been
defeated twice (mumbles) for running for Congress, and at 39, following a
brief term in Congress, he lost his re-election bid. At 41, his four-year-old son died. at 42, he was rejected as
a prospective land officer. At 45, he ran for the Senate and lost. At 47, he lost the Vice
Presidential nomination. At 49, he ran again for
Senate and lost again. So you get the picture. And you already know that what came next. He went on to become one of our nation’s greatest presidents in history. He led our country
through its darkest days during the Civil War, and he left a legacy unparalleled in history. And even one or two of these setbacks would’ve been enough to discourage and actually derail some people. However, Lincoln refused to see failure as a reason to stop trying. Be persistent. You are already beginning
your chosen profession journey with a degree from one of the
world’s top dental schools. That is both an achievement
and a powerful credential that will open many, many doors for you. But there are still goals in front of you, and that these goals you may
not attain on the first try. There is still challenges in front of you that sometimes may seem insurmountable. And when it gets tough, and
I promise you that it will, and when you start to
believe that you will never be able to rise up from defeat, and I promise you you will, always remember that life can be summed up in three words: it goes on. There will be many times
where you will fail, possibly. You will face overwhelming obstacles. Most of you already have, and look where it got you. Here you are today, a success, despite all of the trials and
tribulations you have faced. Persistence is a simple strategy, but not an easy one. Make it part of your approach to life and you will come out head, I promise. My last piece of advice is to be grateful. And at this moment, the
feeling of gratitude in this room is palpable. You, our graduates, are
grateful that you have successfully earned your degree
and a world-class education. You are grateful to your
teachers, your parents, and everyone who helped
you every step of the way. You are grateful and
excited to be moving on to your next chapter. You may also be grateful that I’m nearing the end of my speech, right? But the busyness and
stresses of everyday life can make us forget to be grateful. The daily grind can make us complacent. Fight against that. Fight against that. A sense of gratitude helps
foster greater happiness. It improves our health,
relationships and effectiveness. That’s not just an
anecdote, it is backed up by studies in the field of psychology. But for me, the most convincing evidence of gratitude’s power comes from the people who I meet every single day. I have met thousands of
extraordinary people in my lifetime. Most of them are people who
live in my 57th senate district. And what I have found without exception is that the happiest people, those who are a blessing to others, who are optimistic even in the face of difficulty, who serve their communities tirelessly, and who live the longest, fullest lives are those who are grateful. I can give you an example,
my friend Deb Quinn of Wilesville is one. In 2009, Deb was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. And she knew exactly what that diagnosis meant. Deb grew up watching an
aunt and a grandmother suffer from ALS, and later discovered that more than 20 of her
father’s ancestor had ALS, dating back to the early 17th century. When she lost her younger sister, Rhonda, to the disease in 2007, Deb decided that she didn’t want others to have the same experiences
with ALS that her sister had. And she began working
with the ALS Association’s Upstate New York chapter in
alerting others about ALS. Since her diagnosis, Deb has
become a tireless advocate in raising awareness regarding ALS, and she’s educating the
public across New York State and the country. In 2011, I was very proud to present Deb with the New York State
Senate Liberty Medal in recognition of her
courage and commitment. Deb never dwells on what she can’t do because of this disease,
but instead focuses her energies on a new calling: communicating about her
illness and bringing awareness and greater attention to it. Deb has helped so many with ALS and continues to fight for a cure. She remains grateful for every day, and treats every day as an
opportunity to help others. She truly is an inspiration and a heroine. So, graduates, today is your day. But do not worry, there
will be a time to dream, to think, to try, to fail, to learn, to carry on,
to make a difference. You leave a world-class school today and prepare for your
next exciting chapter. What that story will be is up to you. But be of service, be persistent, be grateful, and life life to the fullest. You are off to a spectacular start. I wish you the best of
luck, and I hope you know how honored I ham to
have been asked to speak on this very important day. God bless each and every one of you, and I wish you much, much success in your lives. Thank you.
(audience applauding) – Thank you, Senator Young, and thank you very much for your service to our school and to
the state of New York. Dean Zambon, would you please come forward to present the faculty awards? And a new one just arrived. – Thank you. The Richard Powell Award is
presented to a faculty member who, in the considered judgment
of faculty and students, is an outstanding dental educator. The recipient demonstrates
superior knowledge of a particular discipline,
in this case anatomy, is able to communicate effectively, and conveys compassion for his students. The awardee appreciates
differences in individual students, and works with each to realize
his or her full potential. Would Dr. Charles Severin
please join me at the podium? (audience applauding) Dr. Severin, I’m honored to present you the Richard Powell Award as you have clearly met the criteria
for this recognition. (audience applauding) The Lipani Award is presented to a faculty or staff member to recognize
outstanding contribution to the school, the faculty
and to the profession. Would Stephen Colombo please
join me at the podium? (audience applauding) Steve, I’m honored to present
you with the Lipani Award in recognition of your
excellent service to the school. Congratulations.
(audience applauding) The Dean’s Award, which has just arrived, is presented to a member
of the faculty, staff, student body, or community who has made a positive
professional impact on a greater-than-local or regional level. Would Dr. Pam Jones please
join me at the podium? (audience applauding) Dr. Jones, I am pleased to present you with this small token of our appreciation for all of your efforts, the Dean’s Award, in honor of our excellent
service to our school. Thank you.
(audience applauding) – Would President Tripathi
please step forward for conferral of the doctor
of dental surgery degree? Will the candidates for
the doctor of dental surgery degree please rise? (audience applauding) – President Tripathi,
on behalf of the faculty of the University at Buffalo
School of Dental Medicine, I am honored to present these candidates. They have met all the
requirements of the university, and are recommended to you by the faculty for the degree doctor of dental surgery. – By the authority of the trustees and the chancellor of the
State University of New York, and the counsel and the faculty of the University at Buffalo, I now confer upon each of you the degree doctor of dental surgery with all the rights and
privileges thereto pertaining. Congratulations.
(audience applauding) – The doctor of dental surgery candidates can now be seated. Will the candidates for the master of science degree please rise? (audience applauding) – [Dean Zambon] President Tripathi, on behalf of the graduate faculty, I am honored to present these candidates. They have met all the
requirements of the university, and are recommended to you by the faculty for the master’s degree. – On behalf of the
chancellor and the trustees of the State University of New York, and the counsel and the graduate faculty of the University at Buffalo, I hereby confer upon each of you the master of science degree. Congratulations.
(audience applauding) – The master’s degree
candidates my now be seated. Will the candidates for
the certificate in advanced dental education please rise? (audience applauding) – President Tripathi, on
behalf of the faculty, I am honored to present these candidates. They have met all the
requirements of the university, and are recommended to you by the faculty for the certificate of
advanced dental education. – On behalf of the
chancellor and the trustees of the State University of New York and the counsel and the graduate faculty of the University at
Buffalo, I hereby award each of you the advanced
dental education certificate. Congratulations.
(audience applauding) – The certificate of
advanced education candidates may now be seated. I’d like now to introduce
our reader today, Ms. Casey Ridi, who will be announcing our
candidates for graduation. Will the doctor of
dental surgery candidates please rise and come forward? Will Dean Zambon join me at the podium for hooding of the doctor of dental surgery degree candidates? Will President Tripathi, Dr. Batista, Dr. Mo-quai-ta join me in the presentation party
in the congratulatory line? – Good evening. We begin with the
candidates for the degree of doctor of dental surgery.

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