Class of 2024 Connects on the Coast During Asilomar Retreat

group on the beach

The stunning Monterey Peninsula provided a scenic backdrop for the Class of 2024’s retreat held recently at the Asilomar Hotel and Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, Calif.

Class members from the DDS, IDS, Dental Hygiene and Orthodontic residency programs were joined by numerous faculty, staff and administrators during the Feb. 23-25 event, which featured guest speakers, activities, social events, local sightseeing and more.

An annual tradition that goes back many years, the 56th annual Asilomar Retreat gives students an opportunity to develop more ties with each other outside of class and clinic, and enjoy a small respite from the rigors of dental school while they look ahead and prepare for graduation in June.

Following dinner on Friday night, Dean Dr. Nader Nadershahi ’94, Alumni ​Association President Dr. Amanda Rae Kronquist ’15, and Dugoni School Foundation ​President Dr. John Y.J. Kim ’04 welcomed attendees with opening remarks. Evening activities included karaoke, snacks and refreshments.

The weekend’s keynote speaker was endurance athlete and author Brian Boyle, who has been featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, NBC’s Today ​Show, ESPN, CNN, and several other programs. Boyle’s memoir describes his recovery from a devastating, nearly fatal car accident, and how he managed to transform tragedy to triumph. He recounted his journey and the many healthcare providers he received care from, including oral health professionals, and emphasized the importance of the humanistic approach to patient care. He has also published The Patient Experience: The Importance of Care, Communication, and Compassion in the Hospital Room

group on the beach

Following Saturday’s keynote, attendees enjoyed a free afternoon of activities both on and off the conference grounds, taking advantage of the beauty, coastline, history and local attractions such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Saturday night’s activities included carnival and video games, photobooth, a raffle and refreshments.

“A weekend getaway at Asilomar Conference Grounds on the Monterey Peninsula was the perfect way to strengthen bonds between students,” said Paola Estrada Tena, a member of the Dental Hygiene Class of 2024.  “We enjoyed all the moments together from singing karaoke to taking walks on the beach, to exploring the surrounding towns — it was a fantastic experience. As we approach graduation, we cherish every moment together and appreciated the opportunity to spend quality time together at such a beautiful location.”

"The Asilomar retreat was nothing short of amazing,” added Dr. Fariba Yaghoobi, a member of the IDS Class of 2024. “Surrounded by the beauty of nature, embraced by the support of your UOP family — together, we bonded even more over bonfires, games, music and shared laughter. Ask me? I wish everyone could have a school family like this."

Known as Monterey Peninsula’s “Refuge by the Sea,” Asilomar is a 107-acre state park abundant in native plants and wildlife, celebrated for its restored dune ecosystem and architectural significance. Asilomar’s conference grounds provide a beautiful example of Arts & Crafts style architecture with historic structures dating back to the first 13 buildings designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan between 1913 and 1928, now designated as National Historic Landmarks.

Group photo inside