Military salute to the Class of 1951
On April 16, 2011, the VCU School of Dentistry honored its own “greatest generation” during the Class of 1951’s 60th reunion. The D.D.S. Class of 1951 is the only dental class composed entirely of veterans. Additionally, they have maintained contact with each other over the past six decades through their newsletter, “Painless Publication.” Faculty who are veterans and students who will pursue military service upon graduation conducted the ceremonial salute of these outstanding World War II veterans.
The class visited the Tompkins-McCaw Library to view their class archives.
Military salute ceremony
Anthems of the service branches signaled the ceremony’s start as second-year dental student Scott Shirk headed a combo playing a rousing medley. Dean David Sarrett, D.M.D., gave a warm welcome to the 1951 classmates, their spouses, the surviving spouses of deceased classmates, family and friends. Margaret Snellings, D.H. Class of 2011, sang an impressive a capella rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Serving as master of ceremonies, retired Navy Capt. Fred Certosimo, D.M.D., M.S.Ed., the chair of the Department of General Practice, shared enlightening thoughts from his visits with the alums and surviving spouses. Bob Bigelow, D.D.S., Class of 2009 and a general practice resident at Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center, sounded “Taps” to honor all deceased class members.
Tompkins-McCaw Library archivist, Jodi Koste, shared research from the D.D.S. Class of 1951’s 60-year newsletter history, which is a part of the library’s archives. Retired Army dentist James Burns, D.D.S., Ph.D., M.S.Ed., associate dean and chair of the Department of Oral Pathology, gave a moving summary of the lives and legacies of the Class of 1951. National Guardsman Tom Koertge, D.M.D., Ph.D., vice chair of the Department of Periodontics, just days back from the war front, presented the combat flag from recent missions in Afghanistan.
Alumni learned of the official commemorative coin, designed by Sara Stires, D.D.S., Class of 2011, commissioned to mark the occasion. The afternoon culminated with the unveiling of the commemorative plaque honoring the Class of 1951’s service to the nation, support of the school and inspiring class camaraderie.
Not a single alumnus nodded off or slept a wink during the continuing education presentation, “The Role of the Dentist in Screening and Testing Obstructive Sleep Apnea,” presented by James Schroeder, D.D.S., and Michael McMunn, D.D.S.
The school held its sixth annual tournament on April 15, 2011. Thanks go to the student golf committee for planning a spectacular event. As exceptional hosts and ambassadors, the students connected alumni to their best memories of dental school. Players were impressed with everything: the hospitality, course, lunches, organization, prizes, truck and the $50,000 raised and given to the Missions of Mercy project. Players reported having a terrific time all day long. One experienced duffer, who plays in corporate and charity tournaments regularly, told the students this was the best-run tournament he'd ever attended. As a former Drug Enforcement Agency officer, he called it “totally squared away."
- Morning gathering photos
- Truck and signing of the checks photos
- Opening ceremony photos
- Ready, set, go! photos
- Closing ceremony photos
- Team photos
Dave and Beth Sarrett and faculty kicked off the reunion weekend hosting a “Welcome Back Alumni” reception. Over drinks and hors d’oeuvres, alumni and spouses jumped right in to reminiscing about good times and reconnecting with old friends.
Dental hygiene alums, spouses and students kicked up their heels at the D.H. Dance Party on Friday night. Partygoers ate, drank and danced to the music of their respective eras reconnecting to great memories and old times.
Saturday’s weather didn’t turn out as hoped for, but a few of our loyal alums ventured into the elements to bring reuniongoers a car show well-worth seeing. Peter Moon, Ph.D., and David Moon showcased their 1928 Moon Arrowhead Roadster; William Artrip, D.D.S., rolled in from West Virginia with his 1957 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible; Harlan Schufeldt, D.D.S., triumphantly touted a 1960 Triumph Italia; Gibby Button, D.D.S., shined up his 1970 Ford Mustang; and Frank Brown, D.D.S., cruised up from the beach in his 2006 Honda S-2000. We’re hoping for better weather next year, gentlemen.
W. Baxter Perkinson Jr., D.D.S., alumnus and painter extraordinaire, demonstrated his techniques for watercolor by creating a new masterpiece in less than 45 minutes. Jerry Schonfeld, D.D.S. and wife Ann won the painting at an auction held to benefit student scholarships. The Schonfelds were thrilled to capture one of Perkinson’s paintings because of a special connection to the artist. As a boy, Perkinson received treatment in the dental school clinic from senior dental student Jerry Schonfeld.
Classes gathered for a lovely dinner and more camaraderie at the reunion dinner and awards ceremony. Alumni recognized for their outstanding service and contributions were Rodney Klima, D.D.S., (D’74), who received the Dr. Harry Lyons Outstanding Alumnus Award, and Claire Kaugers, D.D.S., (D’81), who was honored with the Dr. James H. Revere, Jr. Outstanding Service Award. Trying to organize class photos and the balloon entertainment put a smile on everyone’s face.
Individual class photos include the classes of 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006.
Clement Britt, Doug Buerlein, Ruth Compton and Molly Adler