Dugoni School of Dentistry Commencement Honors Class of 2021

Dugoni Commencement

University of the Pacific’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry marked two important milestones — graduation and the resumption of in-person events in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — when it held its 127th annual commencement ceremony at San Francisco’s Masonic auditorium on Sunday, June 13.

The event recognized 206 students 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.

Associated Student Body President Dr. Jovie Dangtran Nusser was selected to give the student address and Dugoni School Dean Nader A. Nadershahi also provided remarks to the graduates.

“In each and every one of you, I have found, seen, and learned kindness, empathy, diversity, devotion, laughter, leadership, and sheer greatness,” said Dr. Dangtran Nusser. “During our time in dental school, we have seen each other grow as clinicians, but more importantly, we grew into better people.” 

The ceremony was the first post-pandemic in-person commencement event held indoor in the city of San Francisco by any university. It comes amid the easing of pandemic restrictions throughout California taking effect June 15. Guest attendance still had to be limited, and the ceremony was livestreamed for those who couldn’t be there in person.

“Each of you has made history by facing the challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic head on,” said Dean Nadershahi. “I am so proud of the resiliency shown by our graduates and the entire Dugoni School family during this challenging year.”

During the ceremony, graduates received a specially designed keepsake “challenge coin” to represent the unity that the Class of 2021 displayed and the health care they provided for the community during the past year.

Some format changes were necessary for this year’s commencement weekend. On Friday, June 11, in lieu of an in-person Alumni/Graduate Banquet, a virtual student awards program and celebration was held. Awards included results from the recent OKU-Sutro Excellence Day presentations by students and residents, including the Dr. Henry A. Sutro Award for Best Oral Rehabilitation Design.

Graduates also had the opportunity to send customized “Thanks a Bunch” messages to family, friends and other loved ones who supported them in their journey through dental school.  “Putting Him or Her Through” (“Ph.T.”) certificates, which are typically given out during a Saturday Thanks a Bunch Brunch, were mailed to families upon request by graduates.

Recordings of the events are available online: