Tag Archives: dental school

Passion for Pacific: Alumni Give Back

by Christina Boufis

Imagine a dental school with no running water on the second-floor clinic. “The patients would expectorate into porcelain cuspidors, and underneath there was a box with a gallon jug in it,” explains Dr. F. Paul Senise, ’65. “At the end of the day, you had to empty the jug.”

Now picture the third-floor anatomy lab without air conditioning, just like the rest of the building at 14th and Mission Streets. “You almost lost your breath,” Senise continues. “All the cadavers were wrapped in gauze. And in the heat of the summer, flies would lay their eggs.”

“In spite of that, the quality of dentistry that was taught was superb,” adds Senise. Such rough conditions were very real at the old dental school, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, where in the early 1960s four students—Paul Senise, Ernest Giachetti, Kenneth Frangadakis and Morel Fidler—became roommates and forged a deep friendship that still continues after more than 50 years.
“We have been very close since our graduation,” says Dr. Morel Fidler ’65. “Our children are friends. Our grandchildren are friends,” explains Dr. Kenny Frangadakis ’66. “We spend our vacations together up at Lake Tahoe.” All have given back to the dental school many times over, in different ways, both collectively and individually. “We didn’t know it at the time, but in our hearts we wanted to make the school a better place than the one we graduated from,” says Dr. Ernie Giachetti ’67, assistant professor in the Department of Integrated Reconstructive Dental Sciences at the dental school. “That’s been the driving force for me teaching all these years,” he adds. Indeed, Giachetti is the Dugoni School of Dentistry’s longest continuing instructor, now in his 47th year of teaching.

Senise served as president of the Alumni Association and as a board member for many years. Frangadakis served as a member of the Pacific Dugoni Foundation, the school’s fundraising board. Fidler was a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors for six years, from 2002 to 2008, and while on the board was the school historian, giving a history lesson to the board at the beginning of each meeting. “It has always been a pleasure to be involved in the school,” adds Fidler.

The deep friendship these alumni share developed decades ago when they became roommates. “We were four single guys living in San Francisco,” explains Senise. “We became this little mini family. Ernie was our chef. We all did the shopping. We didn’t have a whole lot of time for nonsense,” he recalls.

The four worked hard under the adverse conditions of the school, “akin to a prison camp,” says Senise. They’d come home to eat and study for a few hours then do lab work until 1:00 am or 2:00 am in the morning. Their lab was a garage in the house they shared, where they did everything from casting and polishing crowns to pressing and finishing dentures. “There weren’t too many things we didn’t do,” adds Senise.

“We graduated in spite of everything,” says Giachetti. “And it made us lean and mean and very success-oriented. We have shared our success wholeheartedly with the school to try to make it a better place than we had to endure.”

“It was a pretty oppressive educational environment,” adds Frangadakis. “But a couple of people stood out, like Art Dugoni, who was an orthodontic instructor when I was at school. He is a man you want to emulate. He has that humanistic approach to education. And he’s been a life mentor to me.”

[pullquote]We didn’t know it at the time, but in our hearts we wanted to make the school a better place than the one we graduated from.
—Dr. Ernie Giachetti[/pullquote]

After graduation, they all married and had children at about the same time, says Senise. The family bonds that were formed during their dental school days are continuing strong into the next generation.

Perhaps students and alumni remember Drs. Senise, Giachetti and Frangadakis for the annual First-Year Welcome and Cioppino Dinner where they make and serve a traditional San Francisco fish stew to incoming students every year?

The tradition began almost 40 years ago when Frangadakis and his family went on a fishing trip in the mountains, recalls Giachetti. “We had such a great time that weekend, we said why don’t we do it next year?” Each year they invited more friends, so the fishing party grew and now has been going strong for about 38 years. They go fishing at the start of trout season, right after Mother’s Day.

And it was on one of the fishing trips where they first started making cioppino, a seafood stew, en masse to feed a large group. One of the fathers of their fishing friends, a native San Franciscan, Mario Puccinelli, had a recipe for cioppino. “We used that recipe in our get-together and it was successful,” says Giachetti. When Senise was president of the Alumni Association, he noted that the school attracted the best students, so why serve them hotdogs on the first Friday? “Let’s cook cioppino.”

“When you invite someone into your family, what do you do?” asks Senise. “You sit and break bread.” That is exactly the family sentiment behind the Cioppino Dinner. “We encourage these young people to become a part of the Dugoni family, to show them we are welcoming them into the family,” he adds. “We hope that this is just the beginning, and that they would like to come back and participate in the school for the next generation,” just as he and his classmates have done.

[pullquote]We became this little mini family. Ernie was our chef. We all did the shopping. We didn’t have a whole lot of time for nonsense.
— Dr. Paul Senise[/pullquote]

“What could be more of a great introduction—and something uniquely San Francisco—than cioppino?” says Giachetti. The three alumni, Senise, Giachetti and Frangadakis, make a day of cooking vast pots of cioppino and serving it to the incoming class.

“Paul Senise gives a great speech about how incoming students might end up marrying each other or being best man at a wedding or being a godfather for one of their friend’s children,” says Frangadakis. And while students may chuckle, there’s no denying that strong bonds form during dental school, ones based on tradition, friendship, giving back and excellence in their profession. Both of Senise’s daughters, Kristine and Kimberly, graduated from Pacific. Dr. Kristine Cameron ’98 married another dental school graduate, Dr. Paul Cameron ’95, and Kimberly Fanelli ’06 Hygiene serves on the Alumni Association Board. “In my practice, we have 13 dentists,” says Frangadakis, “and all but three are Pacific grads.”

Three of the colleagues, Senise ’65, Giachetti ’67 and Frangadakis ’66, have received the Medallion of Distinction, the highest honor awarded by the Alumni Association for their exemplary service to the community and profession.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” says Frangadakis, “especially coming from a school that means so much to me. It puts me in good company with the other people who received the honor. I’m not sure I’m worthy of it, but I accepted it graciously.”

[pullquote]I’m very proud and honored to be a Pacific graduate. I can’t wait for the new school to open up. It’s going to be phenomenal.
— Dr. Kenny Frangadakis[/pullquote]

“The three things in my professional life that I’m most proud of are getting through the harshness of the old school, my longevity of teaching 47 years at the dental school and meriting—in the eyes of whoever hands it out—the Medallion of Distinction,” says Giachetti. “We have been fortunate to be given these Medallions of Distinction,” adds Senise, who also counts it among his highest professional honors.

And what do these four former roommates think about the new state-of-the art dental school downtown? “It should be a source of pride for all alumni. The physical building matches the quality of our students, faculty and alumni,” says Fidler. It’s the third dental school building for these friends. “There’s an enjoyment for the four of us, looking at what was, what is and what’s going to be with the advent of the new school. We are on the cutting edge of dental education,” says Senise.

“The Dugoni family as we call it today started from slim beginnings,” says Senise. “And here we are today after the hard work of a lot of people, probably the best school dental school in the nation and maybe even the world. A lot of that is due to alumni, people who went back and gave of their time, money and knowledge.”

“I wanted to make it a better place and it is,” says Giachetti. “Leaders like Art Dugoni and Pat Ferrillo, and faithful followers like us all have the same hopes and dreams for the school.” What could be more like family than trying to make things better for those who come after you?

Christina Boufis, PhD, is a freelance health and medical writer from the East Bay.

There and Back Again: The Dental School Family Returns to its Roots

Founded in 1896 as the College of Physicians and Surgeons, University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry has served the San Francisco Bay Area for 117 years.

1896 The College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) is founded in San Francisco, and takes up residency at 818 Howard Street, between Fourth and Fifth Streets.

1899 Enrollment exceeds capacity in the rented Federation Hall on Howard Street and P&S moves to a newly constructed school on Fourteenth Street between Mission and Valencia Streets.

1945 To accommodate the increasing demand for dentists, the school purchases a lot behind the building on Fourteenth Street in San Francisco and brings in portable clinic units and offices.

1958 The school outgrows its building on Fourteenth Street and begins raising funds and searching for a new building in San Francisco. 1962 The College of Physicians and Surgeons affiliates with University of the Pacific and becomes University of the Pacific School of Dentistry.

1965 Ground is broken for the dental school’s new building at 2155 Webster Street in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood.

1967 The school moves into its new building at 2155 Webster Street.

2004 In honor of its incumbent dean of 28 years, the school is named the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.

2011 The University purchases a former Wells Fargo office building at 155 Fifth Street and establishes a new location for the school in the city’s South of Market district and extensive renovations begin.

2014 The University’s new San Francisco campus, housing the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, will open at 155 Fifth Street.

From Classrooms and Clinics to Condos: What Happens to 2155 Webster Street? Whether as a location for learning, receiving care or employment, 2155 Webster Street has been part of the lives of thousands of people since it opened in 1967. What does the future hold for the building?

Trumark Urban, a Bay Area residential condominium developer, purchased the building from University of the Pacific this past June. The developer plans to build 75 condo units averaging 2,000 square feet each, along with 4,000-square-foot, two-story penthouses with views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The building will get a new exterior “skin”—expected to be a mix of glass and earthy materials. The company also plans to redevelop the parking lot into townhouses.

The dental school will continue to hold all of its academic programs and clinics in the 2155 Webster Street location until it completely vacates the building at the end of July 2014. There will be no interruption to or impact on the existing experience for students and patients. The building operations team will continue to maintain the facilities through the end of the academic year.

University of the Pacific worked with Newmark Knight Frank Cornish & Carey Commercial to complete the real estate transaction with Trumark. According to Dan Cressman, executive managing director of the Newmark Knight Frank Cornish & Carey Commercial Capital Group in San Francisco, 2155 Webster Street is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a developer to create a world class condominium development in San Francisco’s most prestigious neighborhood, rivaling high-end condo projects in New York and London.”

Building Bridges with Students from China, Turkey and Egypt

The Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry’s international ties were strengthened this fall as the school hosted several groups of dental students as part of its cross-cultural exchange programs. The Global Initiative in Dental Education (GIDE), part of the school’s strategic plan, was designed to help elevate global dental education and health care standards to the mutual benefit of patients, students, staff and faculty.

Most recently, 10 dental students from Pharos University in Alexandria, Egypt, visited the school during the first two weeks of September. The exchange was coordinated by Dr. Eugene LaBarre, a faculty member who has been coordinating student exchange visits with Pharos University for the last several years.

Students from the Peking University School of Stomatology in Beijing, China, visited the school for two weeks in August. The students were part of an exchange program that was established in 2012 by the Dugoni School of Dentistry, Peking University School of Stomatology and Wenzhou Medical College School of Stomatology. The students from China were also able to attend the California Dental Association Fall Scientific Session held in San Francisco.

In July, students from Hacettepe University Faculty of Dentistry in Ankara, Turkey, visited the school. The group was invited by Dr. Nader Nadershahi ’94, executive associate dean and associate dean for academic affairs, following a trip he made to Turkey last year to meet with faculty, students and staff at Hacettepe University.

During their visits, the students interacted with students and faculty, attended lectures and classes and observed a variety of dental procedures in the clinics. In addition to learning about dental education in the U.S., the foreign students had time to explore many Bay Area highlights.

“It’s been a wonderful experience for all of us who have had the pleasure of interacting with the visiting students,” said Eve Cuny, director of Environmental Health and Safety. “Their excitement to learn about U.S. dental education and the American culture was evident every day.”

Powered By People

The Dugoni School of Dentistry has much to be proud of. We have first-rate educational programs, a genuine spirit of philanthropy, a history of leadership in dental education and other qualities important to our success. I’m frequently moved by all that we have accomplished and everything we are working toward. In my role as dean it can be easy to get absorbed by the myriad of school priorities and projects, but I make a point to remember that we wouldn’t be where we are today without one key ingredient—our people.

And that’s what—or rather, who—this issue of Contact Point focuses on. We profile a sample of our first-year students who have joined the dental school as members of the DDS Class of 2015. These students share their stories of how they decided to enter the dental profession and describe the roads that led them to joining the Dugoni School of Dentistry family.

You’ll also find an article by Dr. David Chambers exploring one of our core values, humanism, along with competency—which have become requirements at all American dental schools as determined by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. A competency-based education in a humanistic environment has shaped our students into thoughtful professionals for decades and is now considered one of the hallmarks of a premier dental education.

In the Current Issue section you’ll find interesting updates about what’s been keeping our students, faculty and staff busy these past few months. For example, we’ve launched a new student exchange program with two Chinese dental schools and we modified our first-year student retreat to incorporate a focus on community service in San Francisco. Our Main Clinic has also seen changes as we rolled out more of our much-anticipated clinical model that features eight smaller group practices instead of the previous four.

Of course, we can’t forget about our future campus in San Francisco’s SoMa district. In this issue you’ll find an update on our recent progress, including the start of major renovations on the 155 Fifth Street structure. I’m amazed by how far we’ve come with this project and look forward to watching plans turn into reality.

This issue also features the 2012 Honor Roll of Donors to the school between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. We are fortunate to have generous alumni, friends and others who regularly support our people and programs, whether it’s through scholarships, endowments, program and clinic support, future facilities planning, technology or other initiatives that benefit our students, patients, faculty and staff. Thank you to everyone who has made a gift to support excellence in dental education.

The Dugoni School of Dentistry family has much to celebrate. This is an exciting time for our school and our success wouldn’t be possible without all of you, our people.


Patrick J. Ferrillo

Dr. Patrick J. Ferrillo, Jr.

University Celebrates Landmark Purchase of New Home for Dental School

The future of University of the Pacific looks bright in the Bay Area.

The recent landmark purchase of a new home for the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and other Pacific programs is generating much excitement among the University community and San Francisco’s civic leaders and community members alike.

University of the Pacific’s purchase of a seven-story building at 155 Fifth Street in San Francisco marks one of the largest facility projects ever undertaken by the University. The future new campus is located in San Francisco’s burgeoning South of Market (SoMa) district. It will provide a distinctive new home for future generations of Pacific students.

Five floors of the 395,000-square-foot building will house the Dugoni School of Dentistry, as well as classroom space for other University programs. The remaining two floors will be leased as premium office space. The building will undergo a comprehensive renovation, including a complete replacement of the building’s exteriors and interior spaces, which is expected to take approximately two years. The new campus is expected to open in mid-2014.

“This new facility will allow Pacific to strategically expand its footprint in San Francisco by providing a highly visible presence downtown,” said Pamela A. Eibeck, president of University of the Pacific. “This will give us important opportunities for our dental school, which has been in San Francisco since 1896, and also will allow us to build programs for students in our eight other University schools and colleges.”

“I am proud to welcome the University of the Pacific’s Dugoni School of Dentistry to their new home in SoMa,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “This new campus represents a significant investment in San Francisco, bringing new jobs, new economic activity and one of the top dental schools in the nation to the heart of our City.”

The new building will contain flexible learning environments, labs research areas and support space for the dental school, and will also accommodate clinical changes and technology enhancements to support patient care. The SoMa location offers many neighborhood amenities and close proximity to parking and public transportation options for students, faculty, staff and patients.

“We are proud to be part of the exciting development activity taking place in the South of Market neighborhood,” said Dr. Patrick J. Ferrillo, Jr., dean of the Dugoni School of Dentistry. “The new facility will allow easier access for our patients to receive oral health care, and provide state-of-the-art learning environments to support our academic programs.”

Key partners for the renovation and construction project include the San Francisco office of SmithGroupJJR, Inc. as the lead architect; San Francisco-based Plant Construction Company as the general contractor; and Nova Partners, Inc., of Palo Alto, for project management services. The 155 Fifth Street renovation project is estimated to employ about 200 tradespeople over its duration.

The University is funding the cost of the purchase and renovations through an upcoming fundraising campaign, revenue from commercial leases and the sale of two properties currently used by the dental school in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood.

So What Do You Think of the Big Move?

By Kathleen Barrows

In the words of Student Body President Greg Gardner, Class of 2012, “In its 116-year history, the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry has been like a living document, modifying to meet the needs of its patients and its students.” It goes without saying that the purchase and building of the new dental school, which will open in 2014, is a bold step forward in the school’s evolution.

So what does the “dentist on the street” think of the big move? We interviewed people representing the past, the present and the future of the dental school—alumni, faculty, outgoing and incoming students—to find out their thoughts.

Excitement, sometimes mixed with nostalgia, were the emotions that predominated. Nearly everyone heaved a communal sigh of relief about having better parking options and recognized that the school has outgrown its present location. And all anticipated a spacious and modern clinic space that would allow for enhanced patient care as well as better teaching and learning in an environment more representative of real-life dental practice settings.

But each person, reflecting his or her individual and professional histories, had unique thoughts about what the move would mean. Here’s what they had to say.

Dr. Jack Saroyan ’62 – A Pioneer Looking Forward

“I never thought I’d live to see another dental school built,” admits Dr. Jack Saroyan. And he should know. He can still picture the special spade used at the groundbreaking in Pacific Heights, which he and his wife attended in 1967.

Saroyan remembers well the wooden building at 14th and Mission Streets across from the armory, which served as the school’s home from 1923 to 1962. “The clinics were like those in a horror movie, with the equipment all black and rows of dental chairs.” Those were the days when dental students didn’t even touch patients until their second year.

[pullquote]“Now, we’re going to be the new showplace.”
– Dr. Jack Saroyan ’62[/pullquote]

The long-time assistant professor, who retired from his 44-year San Francisco dental practice in 2006, understands why the school needs to move beyond its present site. And he’s especially excited about all the new equipment and the additional square footage in the new clinic design. He also looks forward to more research into areas like bone regeneration. “Now, we’re going to be the new showplace.”

For those like himself who might be concerned with security issues, he points out that there will be three entrances—one for the students and faculty, one for the patients and a third for people going to other parts of the building.

Getting a new building up and running won’t be easy, Saroyan realizes. As he puts it, “Transitions are always difficult,” especially when the move must happen during the one-month summer break in June 2014. But he’s confident that with proper planning, it can be done. As for funding, Saroyan points out that the sale value of the parking lot and building on the present site is a great asset. And he’s counting on the generosity of alumni, who responded so well to the last capital campaign, to come through again as he has.

Ms. Lauren Powell, Class of 2015 – Envisioning a Better Chance to Serve Patients

Lauren Powell knew she wanted to become a dentist since age 12. That was when she got her first braces—as she describes them, “shiny wires, pink bands, the works!”—and loved them. Even earlier, at the age of eight, she had jumped at the job of turning the tiny key on the rotating wheel of her older brother’s palatal expander. Now, as a member of the first class that will graduate from the new campus, her dream is a reality.

Under the mentorship of Dr. Bruce Valentine ’69, her beloved family dentist in Modesto, California, who “opened her eyes to the world of dentistry,” Powell attended Pacific Pride Day at the age of 17 and enrolled in the accelerated dental honors program at the University’s Stockton campus. She’s elated to have been invited to speak at the recent groundbreaking by Associate Dean for Institutional Advancement Craig Yarborough ‘80.

[pullquote]“It will be better for patients as well as students.”
– Ms. Lauren Powell, Class of 2015[/pullquote]

Powell says she’s feeling privileged that she’ll be involved in the big move, and her “biggest excitement is the restructuring of the entire clinic to implement the idea of actual general practice in real life.” The present system of four group practice administrators (GPAs) will increase to eight practice leaders (PLs), so that there will be closer support and monitoring of the students in the clinic setting, with adjacent seminar rooms for discussions.

And, she emphasizes, “It will be better for the patients as well as the students.” Right now many patients don’t live in the area, and parking and transportation are real issues. The new location will mean a shorter journey to receive treatment. After all, she says, “we’re there to serve them,” and that’s what she plans to do.

As Powell puts it, “I know this is a university that will not only teach me how to be a great dentist, but a great person as well.”

Dr. Binh Dao ’07 – Letting Go of Nostalgia

For Dr. Binh Dao ’07, the present campus holds a lot of memories. He’ll always remember, from his first tour of the school, the magnificent view from the top of the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown and the Bay. And later he’d discover that there was “a cool little neighborhood sandwich shop where the lady knew everyones’ names.”

His classmates would sit in the same seats that other family members had occupied as dental students a generation before. Binh himself, whose father immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam in 1980, has a cousin who inspired his own decision to attend the dental school.

[pullquote]“I’m excited to see how a school will be started from scratch.”
– Dr. Binh Dao ’07[/pullquote]

And then, of course, it was here that he met his wife, Dr. Alexis Lyons ’07. They were married this past September, with more than 40 classmates and their significant others present at the wedding. The two now have their respective practices in the Sacramento area.

After speaking with both Dean Patrick J. Ferrillo, Jr. and Associate Dean Craig Yarborough about his initial concerns two years ago, he realizes that it was the “nostalgic part” of him that was getting in the way. “As a student you don’t realize you’ve outgrown an old building,” he says. It’s more “economically smart to buy and build the way you want” rather than remodel an aging structure. Besides, he asks, where would the students have gone during the renovations?

Most importantly, Dao is impressed with how the dean has planned for the future in a rapidly evolving technological world. “I’m excited now to see how a school will be started from scratch,” and he’s confident that whatever happens, it will be an improvement on an already great school. “Dean Ferrillo is taking the school in a forward direction, and that’s what’s important.”

Dr. Judee Tippett-Whyte ’86 – Hoping to Enhance Continuing Education

As a former president of the Alumni Association, Dr. Judee Tippett-Whyte ’86 is well aware of all the effort and planning that has gone into the move to the new campus. And she was thrilled to be present at the January 18 groundbreaking, where she witnessed the excitement of the University regents as well.

She sees the move as a potential boon to the school’s continuing education program. The CDA Presents fall meeting happens annually at the Moscone Center, right around the corner from the new site. This could mean a collaboration with the CDA—an organization she’s been actively involved in since 1986—using the new clinic for some of the hands-on sessions to bring in revenue and showcase the school.

Having come from the “era of long bench labs,” Tippet-Whyte is very appreciative of the new clinic design, with its feel of a group practice. It will be more practical and “help the students learn the business side of dental practice, something which has always been a challenge.”

[pullquote]“Any move is bittersweet.”
– Dr. Judee Tippett-Whyte ’86[/pullquote]

She’s also convinced that the much-improved parking situation and accessibility to public transportation will make it much easier to attract patients to help ensure a well-rounded clinical education for students. The South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood represents a “hub of activity,” which will bring in a younger population to use the school.

Any move is bittersweet. Tippett-Whyte and her husband, Pacific Director of Events Steve Whyte, have many happy memories of their early married life in student housing, in a building which even had a lab. But it was “an added perk,” and not something that she feels would impact anyone’s decision to attend the dental school.

Of this she’s sure: “The advantages of the new site will far outweigh the disadvantages of losing the student housing.”

Mr. Greg Gardner, Class of 2012 – Moving into the 21st Century

Greg Gardner, Class of 2012, is quick to admit, “I’m jealous—jealous of the newness and the firsts that will happen at the new school.” His concern is that some students may forget “how great we already have it here” and he feels the new campus will only “launch us further from the reach of other schools.”

[pullquote]“Our shoes and clothes are getting tight.”
– Mr. Greg Gardner, Class of 2012[/pullquote]

It was the inspiration and mentorship of Dean Emeritus Arthur A. Dugoni ’48 and other administrators who helped Gardner step out of his comfort zone to become student body president. After graduating, he will participate in a one-year, postgraduate residency in general practice in Mississippi, pursue a private practice for 10 to 15 years and then begin a gradual return to academia.

Gardner recognizes that “our shoes and clothes are getting tight.” Larger gatherings of the school—in both good times to make important announcements and sad times to mourn a lost colleague—have been limited by space constraints. And he definitely won’t miss the lines in the clinics for both space and supplies.

Being an older student, who left behind a short career as a chemical engineer, Gardner appreciates that the new space will allow for what he calls “a greater variety of learning skills and styles,” from lectures to hands-on learning. He realizes that from the students’ perspective there may be worries about housing and a change in neighborhood, but “ultimately it’s about the patients and the care we provide.”

“This is a timely and much-needed step for the Dugoni School of Dentistry to go into the 21st century and build a new dynasty.”

Kathleen A. Barrows, an East Bay freelance writer, is a contributor to Contact Point.