In Memoriam

Alan W. Budenz, MS, DDS, MBA | 1950-2024

Dr. Alan Budenz, emeritus professor and beloved member of the dental school community, passed away on March 18, 2024, just three weeks after he was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic melanoma. Budenz retired in 2023, leaving behind a remarkable legacy and impacting thousands of lives as a teacher, mentor and friend.

A 1982 graduate of the UCSF School of Dentistry, Budenz began teaching one day a week at the Dugoni School of Dentistry in 1984. He maintained a private practice in the Marina District until 1992, after which he devoted himself full-time to academia, teaching oral diagnosis, treatment planning and anatomy. He served as a group practice administrator and department chair, and played a key role in establishing the faculty CARE practice for HIV+/AIDS patients. Budenz also led more than 10 international student service trips and sponsored boat trips and swimming events for students.

Budenz is the only individual to have served as president of the Alumni Association for the Dugoni School of Dentistry and the UCSF School of Dentistry, and he received many prestigious awards from both institutions. He also gave his talent and time to organized dentistry, holding several leadership positions during his career. He lectured nationally and internationally, and from 2005 to 2023 was recognized by Dentistry Today as a leader in dental continuing education.

“Alan touched the lives of thousands of members of the Dugoni School family,” said Dean Nader A. Nadershahi ’94. “He lived life to the fullest and lived a life of distinction. I will sorely miss him and his unwavering dedication to our school and profession.”


Benjamin Harouni, DDS | 1996-2024

The Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry family joins with the broader community to mourn the passing of Dr. Ben Harouni, a graduate of the DDS Class of 2022. Harouni, age 28, a dentist at Smile Plus Dentistry in El Cajon, California, was killed by what police described as a “disgruntled former patient” on February 29, 2024 in a shooting at his dental practice which he ran with his father, Jack Harouni, DDS.

A Sacramento native, Harouni earned his undergraduate degrees in natural science and political science at University of Southern California before being accepted into the Dugoni School of Dentistry’s DDS program. Continuing the family tradition of being a healer and healthcare provider for his community, Harouni completed his dental training at the Dugoni School with his usual uplifting spirit throughout the challenging times of the COVID pandemic, making a positive impact on his fellow classmates, residents, faculty, staff and patients.

The dental school held a campus vigil on March 5 to remember Harouni’s life and impact, with remarks provided by Dean Nader A. Nadershahi ’94 as well as several of his classmates, friends and faculty. “His kindness and compassion touched and improved many lives, and we extend our deepest condolences to Ben’s family, friends and loved ones,” said Nadershahi. “His commitment to serving others reflected the Dugoni School’s commitment to humanism, respect, integrity and inclusion.”

Pete Popovich

As we go to press on this issue of Contact Point, we would like to acknowledge the loss of a good friend and important part of the Contact Point team. For the past 35 years, Pete Popovich has been our right-hand man for the excellent printing and production of the magazine. Contact Point has been printed at various presses around the Bay Area, but always under the watchful and exacting eye of Pete. He was instrumental in providing professional guidance and service to us as technology changed the art of printing over the years. He became a friend to all of us in the process. Pete lost his life on March 19, 2024. The team will never be the same without him.