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The School of Dentistry hosts Honors Convocation each spring to recognize students for their outstanding academic and leadership efforts.

""For the first time in school history, the awards ceremony was held in a virtual format in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event went live on Thursday, May 28, 2020, and was hosted by Dean Russell S. Taichman and Assistant Dean Carly Timmons McKenzie.

More than 40 students were acknowledged for their outstanding efforts. In a ceremony that highlighted national student leadership and service, awards were supported by the Alabama Dental Society, the Birmingham District Dental Society, and the School of Dentistry Alumni Association, among others. Eight Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) dental honor society inductees and the UAB Chapter of OKU William S. Kramer Award of Excellence recipient were recognized and various discipline-specific awards were given.

Raymond (Ray) Dawkins II, a fourth year DMD/MBA dual degree student, received the International College of Dentists Leadership Award given in partnership with Proctor & Gamble Company. The award honors a graduating senior who demonstrates conspicuous leadership as a student and has great potential to do so as a professional. As a student, Dawkins served as national treasurer of the Student National Dental Association and was a member of the 2017-18 class of Alabama Schweitzer Fellows.

Among several memorial awards named for distinguished UAB School of Dentistry representatives, the Lam Scholarship, given in memory of Dr. Chau Ngoc Lam, was awarded to second year DMD/PhD dual degree student Tanner Godfrey. The honor is given annually to a dental student who has exemplified and demonstrated leadership qualities and selfless service to the disadvantaged. Lam was past president of the Academy of Dentistry International and a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Dentistry at UAB. Godfrey has served as national secretary of the American Association for Dental Research National Student Research Group. When asked about the recognition he said, “It was a distinct honor to receive the Lam Scholarship named for such an impressive international leader from UAB, who was dedicated to the advancement of dentistry worldwide.”

The Volker Award, named for dentist, noted scientist, educator and college administrator Dr. Joseph F. Volker, was awarded to Bhakti Desai. Volker served as first dean of the University of Alabama School of Dentistry, first president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and first chancellor of the University of Alabama System. The award is given to a graduating student who has worked for the good of the school and student body. The recipient is selected by a vote of the graduating class.

Desai also received a variety of academic and leadership awards from the Pierre Fauchard Academy, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, the Alabama Dental Association, the American Student Dental Association, and the school’s alumni association. She was presented with a second memorial award, the Brian D. Stone Award for exceptional service to patients with special needs. Desai’s leadership and involvement included serving as class president and as a member of the 2017-18 class of Alabama Schweitzer Fellows.

"Honors Convocation is a chance to applaud the success of our students at the end of each year," said Taichman. “Their accomplishments are truly impressive and we were happy to celebrate them at our first virtual event. Distinctively, this year’s online platform allowed honorees to share the celebration with family and friends.”

At the close of the convocation, one awardee remained unnamed. By tradition, the Dean’s Medal, awarded to a member of the graduating class for outstanding scholarship and leadership, is presented at Commencement.

A full list of the 2020 award recipients can be found on the School of Dentistry Honors Convocation page.