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Alumni of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry gathered for a weekend of professional development and camaraderie – and a student variety show – during its annual Alumni Weekend.

Dr. Geisinger presenting at Alumni WeekendThe event, held at the Hyatt – Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham from Thursday, Feb. 1, to Sunday, Feb. 4, welcomed graduates throughout the years, creating a vibrant atmosphere of shared memories and experiences. There was something for everyone – from faculty, staff, and students to alumni and guests.

“Alumni Weekend is the highlight of the year for our organization,” says Scott Huffman, alumni association executive director. “We have amazing continuing education opportunities and interaction with our approximately 75 exhibitors and sponsors.”

One of the largest dental meetings in the state, Huffman said this year’s event hit an all-time high in attendees and vendors.

Thursday evening kicked off the festivities with the Distinguished Dentist program and donor reception, where alumni exchanged stories and rekindled old friendships. The night was highlighted by the awards ceremony itself. Opening the ceremony, Huffman said the tradition of presenting outstanding alumni goes back to 1999 and the honorees have set the standard for years. Awardees were longtime leader in organized dentistry Gary Myers, D.M.D. (’75), who was named the 2023 Distinguished Alumnus, and recent graduate Will Bates, D.M.D. (’17), M.S., who was named Outstanding Young Alumnus.

Thursday afternoon, Friday, and Saturday were filled with continuing education (CE) sessions that featured national and local speakers and experts in a variety of dentistry-related subjects. Topics ranged from diagnosis and management of temporomandibular disorders, to augmented reality and 3D printing to opioid prescription and monitoring – and everything in between. Alumni, faculty, and staff had the opportunity to earn valuable CE credits while staying abreast of the ever-evolving field of dentistry.

Dr. Blass and Dr. DoobrowToni Neumeier, D.M.D., M.A.G.D., an alumnae and longtime faculty member, says she enjoys attending the annual event for the classes and the camaraderie.

"Not only do I learn something new through the lectures, but I am also glad to get the CE hours for renewing my license," she says. "But the most exciting part is getting to see some classmates, alumni, and colleague friends. A lot of them I haven't seen for years. It is heartwarming when you hug them and know they are doing well. Also the best reward for a teacher is knowing your former students are doing well."

Alumni from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s were honored during a Medallion Luncheon and receptions and reunions were held on Friday and Saturday evenings. The weekend was also topped off Saturday night by the 12th Annual Variety Show, a special ticketed event where dental students entertained attendees by showing off their talents.

Attendees left the event reenergized, with a renewed sense of connection commitment to advancing the profession of dentistry.

“Alumni weekend is an exciting opportunity for students, reminding us that our education does not end with dental school but rather continues for a lifetime,” said D4 Class President Heath Padgett. “Arguably the best part about alumni weekend is the opportunity to network among students, practicing dentists, and vendors. The weekend makes me look forward to the career path I am on and the years of reunions I will enjoy at this annual event.”