Members of the class of 2023 receive their DDS degrees

Congratulations to the Class of 2023!

Columbia has a long and venerated history of preparing dentists to provide exceptional care and service to others. The University conferred its first DDS degree in 1922 and for more than 100 years has been graduating medical professionals who are poised to become leaders in the field of oral health. For the students graduating from the Columbia University School of Dental Medicine as members of the Class of 2023, May 17 and 18 were the culmination of four years of hard work and sacrifice. 

In a ceremony on May 17, students in the graduating class who distinguished themselves through their academic pursuits, their leadership skills, and their commitment to service were acknowledged at the 2023 Class Day. Dean Christian Stohler noted that the tradition of recognizing excellence has its roots in 1754 charter of Kings College, which later became Columbia University. That document directed that students who demonstrate excellence in leadership, attitude, behavior, and accomplishment should be celebrated. 
And, on the morning May 18, 98 newly-minted doctors of dental surgery participated in the hooding ceremony, a ritual with its roots in the 12th century. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Dennis Mitchell, DDS, MPH, the incoming interim provost of Columbia University, who began his career at Columbia as a member of the faculty of the College of Dental Medicine. Dr. Mitchell reminded the graduates of the difficulties of attending dental school during the pandemic, noting that this class had to find ways to continue learning, even when traditional avenues of education were not open to them. Through hard work and consistent determination during their years of academic study and clinical experience, they were able to focus on becoming excellent oral healthcare providers despite unprecedented roadblocks. The graduation program, which includes Class Day awards, can be found here.  Watch a video of the ceremony here.

Postdoctoral students receiving their certificates and degrees

In the afternoon, the College held the Postdoctoral Graduation Ceremony. Dr. James Fine, senior associate dean of postdoctoral academic and student affairs, told the graduating students that, having completed advanced dental education, they now possessed specialized skills and knowledge. "We recognize your accomplishments and your expertise."

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Gunnar Hasselgren, a member of the CDM faculty for 37 years. Hasselgren, paraphrasing physicist Niels Bohr, encouraged the graduates to rely on data driven research. To gain knowledge," he said, "we have to weigh and we have to measure. Otherwise we are just dealing with opinions."  The postdoctoral graduation ceremony program can be found hereWatch a video of the postdoctoral ceremony here.