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I had the privilege of handing out t-shirts to third and fourth year students last Friday with Alumni Association President Bruce Camp, Dean Russ Taichman, and Alumni and Special Events Coordinator Abby Vinson.

It was amazing to see what a small token of encouragement meant to these students. Even during COVID-19, the Alumni Association is working hard to help the students and the school. 

Alumni Association Makes a Difference newsUAB SOD Alumni Association President Dr. Bruce Camp ('84) recently gave fourth year student Jacob Wolkow a complimentary alumni t-shirt. The shirts were distributed to all third and fourth year students.When fourth year student Jacob Wolkow showed up during the lunch hour to receive his complimentary School of Dentistry Alumni Association t-shirt, he, along with all third and fourth year students, were happy to receive this token of appreciation. “It means a lot that the Alumni Association cares about the students,” said Wolkow. The exchange meant even more to Alumni Association President Dr. Bruce Camp (’84) who drove over from Villa Rica, GA, where he lives and practices. “I always enjoy meeting with the students,” said Camp. “It’s a pleasure sharing with them how exciting dentistry is and how bright their future will be. We want our students to know how much we appreciate them. The third and fourth year students are members of the association, and this was a great way to welcome them to the profession,” he said.

The Alumni Association helps support students throughout their educational path at UAB's School of Dentistry. While there hasn't been a White Coat ceremony yet due to COVID-19, rest assured the Alumni Association will participate. Since the ceremony was established in 1999 under Dean Dr. Mary Lynne Capilouto, the Alumni Association has purchased the white coats for first year students. The other major ceremony supported by the Alumni Association is graduation. The AA supports the keynote speaker via the Lister Hill Lecture honorarium and helps underwrite the reception afterwards. Each year the alumni president also gives sage advice to the departing class as part of the ceremony. While the less formal events have taken a hiaitus during COVID-19, rest assured they will be back. Either the Alumni Association or the Alumni Office help plan and fund Homecoming, the Baron's baseball gathering, the Student Variety Show, and various other receptions.

While all these events are a prominent display of alumni support, the phrase "Walk Softly but Carry a Big Stick" couldn't be more appropriate to describe the Alumni Association's support of our students, faculty, and the school. Just within the past five years the Alumni Association has endowed their own $500,000 endowed professorship, committed $50,000 to the Peter Waite Endowed Professorship, $50,000 to the Prosthodontic Clinic Renovation, approximately $50,000 to the Comprehensive Care Clinic Renovation, and $25,000 to student travel. This is not an exhaustive list as there have been many other school projects and causes the Alumni Association has supported through the years.

I cannot say enough about the Alumni Association Executive Council officers and representatives during this very trying time. I want everyone who is reading this to know the sacrifices these dentists are making for our students, faculty, school, and the profession. The officers have been meeting almost EVERY week during the pandemic, and the entire Council has met several times as well... all to help Dean Taichman and our faculty keep the school on solid footing. The Alumni Executive Council is comprised of approximately 27 members, representing Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi. They, along with our staff, plan to make the 2021 Alumni Weekend a success. Although it will be a virtual format, we promise it will be a meeting you will want to attend. The registration fee has been reduced by $100 for dentists, while faculty, residents, and students can attend free of charge.

While the Development and Alumni Relations staff may not be at the school every day, we are still meeting the needs of our alumni. Our staff includes Charlene Phillips, Abby Vinson, Elizabeth Carlson, and Christy Peters. I could not be more proud of our team.

Scott Huffman is the Executive Director of the School of Dentistry’s alumni association.