The West Virginia University School of Dentistry welcomed 50 new students this week who will work over the next four years to become dentists.
The dental class of 2021 gathered at an annual professionalism assembly Friday (Aug. 11) in Okey Patteson Auditorium.
Shelia S. Price, D.D.S., Ed.D., associate dean for admissions and recruitment at the WVU School of Dentistry, calls the tradition, started in 2002, the culminating orientation event for incoming first-year students.
“The School of Dentistry fosters an exemplary learning environment that is supported by a longstanding tradition of professionalism. This unyielding custom is emphasized and celebrated at the professionalism assembly,” said Dr. Price.
The Office of Dental Admissions and a dental admissions committee considered a pool of 1366 applicants when choosing the class of 2021.
Of the 50 students, 78% (39) are West Virginia residents. Four of the 11 non-residents have ties to the state or WVU.
Women make up 42% of the incoming class. In addition to all incoming students holding undergraduate degrees, three students join the School of Dentistry having already earned a master’s degree. One new student has already earned a doctorate.
The overall grade point average of the class of 2021 is 3.66.
Thomas Borgia, D.D.S., the dean of the WVU School of Dentistry, addressed new students about their professional journey to provide quality health care.
“Our passion about what we believe to be professionalism in both dentistry and in our private lives is intense and arises from those basic concepts of wanting to do well, serve others and to give back,” declared Dr. Borgia.
As doctorate students begin academic responsibilities Monday, the Dental Hygiene Program welcomes an incoming class at 11 a.m. at the Saint Mary Roman Catholic Church pavilion in Star City for orientation, team building and Mountaineer camaraderie. They will be part of a department consistently recognized by WVU leadership as a program of excellence since 1995.
“The dental hygiene faculty, staff, and returning students are excited to welcome the incoming freshman and sophomores at the orientation picnic. This is one of my favorite events of the year because the students organize the majority of the activities, and you can tell that they truly enjoy welcoming new students,” noted Amy Funk, chair of the Department of Dental Hygiene. “I have found that incorporating academic information with a fun, enjoyable picnic is the best way to encourage lasting professional relationships and foster a sense of belonging at the WVU School of Dentistry.”
The overall grade point average of the incoming dental hygiene class of 2021 was 3.96. Half of the students are from West Virginia; the other half includes students from Oklahoma, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania.