School of Dentistry Alumni Association OfficersSchool of Dentistry Alumni Association OfficersEvery year, alumni from across Alabama and the nation converge on Birmingham, Ala for the Alabama Dental Alumni Association’s Alumni Weekend. This year it was different. Due to COVID-19, the organization had to scuttle its 2021 event for a virtual gathering, so there was some uncertainty leading up to the 2022 event. Although the previous year’s virtual event was highly successful, participants said nothing beats meeting in person. While dentist attendance was down about 15 percent from the all-time high, there were still more than 700 registered attendees and an additional 700 students, residents, faculty, exhibitors, volunteers, and guests.

UAB School of Dentistry alumni came from 16 different states to take part in continuing education courses, dental class reunions, organized dentistry meetings, donor galas, and much more. While most attendees came from Alabama, almost all of the southeastern states were represented plus faraway states such as Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York. And you couldn’t get much further away than the great state of Washington. In Alabama they came from all the large cities to small towns like Andalusia, Boaz, Ozark, Piedmont, and Smiths Station.

“We had another hugely successful Alumni Weekend,” said Dr. Bruce Camp, the association’s now immediate past president, who presided over the meeting. “Just looking at the number of people who attended from various states, you can see how popular this event has become."

“I don’t think there’s any question that we have one of the most active alumni bases in the country," he continued. "Our staff does an outstanding job of planning throughout the year and pulling this event together. I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize our Program Chair, Dr. Lori Gearhart, who also helps us attract the highest caliber continuing education speakers."

The courses offered at Alumni Weekend ranged from financial planning to training for endodontic, oral surgery, pediatric dentistry, periodontic, and prosthodontic specialty groups. Because there wasn’t a live event in 2021, there were twice as many class reunions. For instance, the Classes of 1971 and 1972 both celebrated their fifty-year reunions with a special medallion presentation by UAB School of Dentistry Dean Dr. Russell Taichman. “It was phenomenal to see all these graduates come from sometimes thousands of miles away to get reacquainted with their fellow classmates and their former faculty. We really have a special alumni spirit,” said Taichman.

Perhaps the highlight of the weekend was the presentation of the Distinguished Alumnus and Outstanding Young Alumnus Awards. For the first time in the history of the awards, a father and son were honored. Dr. Gordon R. Isbell III (’81) and his son, Dr. Gordon R. “Ross” Isbell IV (’14) of Gadsden, Ala were selected as the 2021 recipients. The ceremony was capped off with the Distinguished Dentist Reception at the Hyatt-Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, Ala comprised of the School of Dentistry’s top donors. The following evening continued with more special events and reunions. During Alumni Weekend, the president’s gavel was passed from Dr. Bruce Camp to his classmate Dr. Ben Ingram (’84) of Piedmont, Ala, who will serve as the 2022 Alumni Association President.