Dugoni School Commencement Weekend Celebrates Class of 2024

Student being honored at Commencement

University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry held its annual Commencement Ceremony at The Masonic in San Francisco on Sunday, June 16, the culmination of a weekend celebrating its newest graduates.

This event marked the 130th graduation ceremony held by the dental school since its founding in San Francisco in 1896.

The Class of 2024 includes 205 students and residents graduating with the degrees of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS); Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene; Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD); Master of Science in Dentistry, Orthodontics; and Master of Science in Dentistry, Endodontology.

The group also includes 27 students representing eight countries from around the world who graduated from the school’s two-year International Dental Studies (IDS) program.

“As we prepare to step out and make our mark on the world, we do so as well-crafted restorations of our former selves — polished, strong and ready to withstand the pressures of the world,” said Dr. Mahban Zarei IDS ’24, selected as this year’s student speaker. “Our paths may now diverge, but our shared experiences will forever unite us in the tapestry of the Dugoni legacy — a legacy of excellence, compassion and humanism. Here's to the memories we have made, the friendships we have forged and the countless lives we are destined to touch.”

Dr. Mahban Zarei IDS ’24

Dr. Mahban Zarei IDS ’24

Prior to the ceremony, the weekend was filled with celebratory activities including the Alumni/Graduate Banquet held Friday at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. Hosted by the school’s Alumni Association, the event featured mingling, dining, remarks and dancing to officially welcome the graduates to the school’s alumni ranks. Awards were presented, including the Dr. Henry A. Sutro Award for Best Oral Rehabilitation Design: Design and Excellence of Execution, won by Dr. Vineet Gangadharan, DDS ’24. Students also recognized faculty members with awards to thank them for their impact on the student learning experience.

On Saturday morning, graduates, family members and other loved ones gathered at the InterContinental San Francisco for the Thanks a Bunch Brunch. Messages of thanks the graduates had written ahead of time were read to family members and significant others who supported them throughout their time in dental school. These student supporters also received “Putting Him/Her/Them Through” (“Ph.T.”) certificates.

On Saturday evening, the Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) dental honor society inductions were held at the Olympic Club’s City Clubhouse, where 12 percent of the graduating class were selected for membership. Selected individuals graduated with high honors. Graduates who had been selected for membership in two other honor societies, Phi Kappa Phi and Tau Kappa Omega, were recognized at special events held earlier in May and June.

graduating students

As a special public recognition for the graduates, San Francisco City Hall was lit up in Pacific’s colors of orange and black on Sunday evening in recognition of the impact the graduates have made on the local community.

“I am so proud of all of you — so proud of all that you have accomplished to reach this point,” said Dr. Nader A. Nadershahi, dean and vice provost of the Dugoni School, in his address to the graduates at the commencement ceremony. “Throughout your time with us, you have been engaged in a challenging and enriching education that has equipped you with the knowledge, skills and values needed for success as an oral health care professional.”

“As you embark on the next chapter of your professional life, remember the values and traditions instilled in you during your time at the Dugoni School,” he added. “Courage, empowerment, excellence, innovation, integrity and humanistic leadership – not just words, but principles that will guide you as you make a difference in the lives of others.”

Watch video of the ceremony on YouTube or below: