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Peter Girgis is hooded during the ceremony by his father, Dr. Philip Girgis (left), a 1990 dental school alumnus.
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The Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine Class of 2016.
The Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine celebrated the achievement of 50 students with the bestowal of doctor of dental medicine degrees.
The students received their doctoral hoods during a commencement ceremony June 4 in SIUE’s Morris University Center’s Meridian Ballroom. Notably, two students were hooded by an alumnus parent.
“As the only dental school in downstate Illinois and in the St. Louis area, our graduates are a tremendous asset,” SIUE Interim Chancellor Stephen Hansen said. “They are proof that an investment in higher education pays the best dividends, not only for individuals, but also for Illinois and the region.”
Dean Bruce Rotter extended his heartfelt congratulations to the class of 2016 and encouraged the graduates to remember five key points throughout their careers.
“Always strive to perform the best dentistry that you can and continue a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and excellence,” Rotter said. “Treat both your patients and your staff with the utmost respect. Maintain a moral compass, striving to do what is right. Maintain a social conscience and share your expertise with those less fortunate who may need your help.
“Finally, return the love and support to your family and friends which they have given to you through the efforts and sacrifices they have made in helping you reach the successful completion of your dental degree.”
The ceremony featured guest speaker George Zehak, an advocate for organized dentistry and continuing education, and an avid supporter and good friend of the dental school. Zehak emphasized one of the greatest challenges graduates will face as dentists — change.
“You are now ready to use one of your life’s greatest achievements for the betterment of humankind,” Zehak said. “Change is occurring rapidly, and it will be exciting, helpful and extremely challenging to keep up with.
“Computers can and will continue to give you all kinds of information. Scientists are even working to give computers artificial intelligence. But no computer can have that human sense or go in a different direction in clinical situations. No computer has the human values that your education has drilled into you. That’s what makes you truly unique and makes dentistry a desirable profession both now and in the future.”
The celebration concluded with a reception for students, faculty and family members in the Goshen Lounge. The commencement ceremony can be viewed in its entirety online.