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Commencement 2013

Commencement 2013

LEFT TO RIGHT: Dental hygiene graduates Sarah Chapel, Tonya Cooper and Bianca Diaz de Leon.

 Media Resources/Steven Doll

Wisdom from the ages

Taking her cues from the wisdom of legendary British Prime Minister and statesman Sir Winston Churchill, Dr. Connie Hastings Drisko, a 1961 graduate of the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene, urged graduates to “never give in” during commencement exercises May 24 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.

It’s a concept that Drisko, now dean and Merritt Professor at Georgia Regents University College of Dental Medicine in Augusta, understands on a deeply personal level.

“I really tried not to ever give in,” Drisko said. “By the time I got there I was 43,” she added, referring to spending 16 years practicing dental hygiene before returning to pursue her dental degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and eventually earning a certificate in periodontics.

“There are still thousands and thousands of decisions you have to make that will determine what kind of dental hygienists or dentists you are … and what kind of reputation you will have in the communities you serve,” Drisko said to the Class of 2013, which included dental and dental hygiene graduates, dentists receiving specialty certificates and those earning master's degrees.

“I am confident that you will never give in as you become the high quality clinicians I know you are,” she continued. “Remember: Never give in, follow your passion, do something great, be the best you can be and never forget your alma mater.”

Awards and recognition

Graduates as well as faculty were recognized during the ceremony, including Dental Teacher of the Year Dr. Lorenzo Prats, assistant professor in restorative sciences, and Dental Hygiene Teacher of the Year Cherri Kading, assistant professor and dental hygiene clinic coordinator.

Read Prats’ and Kading’s stories

Among students recognized for scholastic achievement were Dr. Wade Barker in the dental class and Miranda Abernathy in the dental hygiene class, who were awarded the Baylor Oral Health Foundation Centennial Award.

See a list of scholarship and award winners

Watch the entire 2013 graduation ceremony online