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The UAB School of Dentistry kicked off its 75th anniversary on February 2, 2023 in conjunction with the school’s alumni association Alumni Weekend in Birmingham, Ala. One of the highlights of the weekend was the presentation of two special alumni awards.

2022 alumnus awardDr. Russ Taichman presents Dr. Stanley Beard with the Distinguished Alumnus AwardDr. Stanley Beard (’89) of Jackson, Ala was named the 2022 Distinguished Alumnus recipient. “Dr. Beard has been a central figure in organized dentistry for many years”, said Dr. Russ Taichman, Dean of the UAB School of Dentistry, who presented Beard with a special plaque. “Dr. Beard has logged literally thousands of hours as a volunteer through the years. His philanthropic contributions have also made a huge impact on the school. He was most deserving of this award,” said Taichman.

Beard grew up around a dental office. He practiced with his father, Dr. Bobby Beard (’64) before taking over the general dentistry practice ten years after graduating from UAB in 1989. The younger Beard served as president of the University of Alabama School of Dentistry Alumni Association in 2018. He currently serves on the school’s admissions committee and the State of Alabama’s dental scholarship committee. “It is unique in that it has come full circle for me, and it’s rewarding to see extremely bright students choose to attend the UAB School of Dentistry,” said Beard.

Dr. Derrick Mendez (’14) of Alabaster, Ala received the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. According to Scott Huffman, the Alumni Association’s Executive Director, Dr. Mendez was unaware that he was being honored. “We thought it would be neat to surprise Dr. Mendez. He has done so much for dentistry in Alabama in a relatively short time. He was highly regarded as a dental student, and he continues to dedicate his volunteer time to the school and other dental organizations,” said J. Scott Huffman, alumni association executive director. Mendez became the youngest president of the Alabama Academy of General Dentistry in 2018. He has also earned hundreds of hours of continuing dental education credits and is a regular attendee of Alumni Weekend.

Both Beard and Mendez offered encouraging words to attendees at the special reception held in their honor. “The UAB School of Dentistry and the Alumni Association mean everything to me,” said Beard. “There are so many people, including former faculty members like Dr. David Greer, who helped shaped my life. I am so grateful for my training and my school,” he said. Added Dr. Mendez, “It’s quite an honor to receive this recognition. I encourage (our alumni) to stay involved in organized dentistry and come back to Alumni Weekend every year.”

The alumni awards have been presented annually during Alumni Weekend since 1999. A committee comprised of UAB Dentistry Leadership Council and Alumni Association members seek nominations and make recommendations to the dean. In recent years, the dean has announced the recipients at the Distinguished Dentist reception. “This year’s awards may be a little more special because we are celebrating the school’s 75th anniversary,” said Dr. Taichman. I commend the committee on their selections. They could not have selected two more worthy alumni,” he said.