[View Image]By Anthony Langley (B.S.’16/MC)
This year marks five years since Lindsey North, D.D.S. (D.D.S.’13/D) graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry. This is her first class reunion.
Each year, VCU’s health sciences schools — allied health professions, dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy — celebrate Reunion Weekend and invite five-year classes back to campus. When the chance arose to be involved in planning the event as a class chair, North was first to raise her hand and volunteer.
Reunion is the School of Dentistry’s most important alumni engagement activity. In a five year reunion cycle, more than 20 percent of alumni celebrating class reunions come back to their school. Having input from both a class chair and class committee is crucial to the event’s success, says Gloria Callihan, associate dean and director of development and alumni relations for the School of Dentistry.
“[Planning reunion] is a team effort, and the class chair is the glue that keeps the process running smoothly,” Callihan says. “Bringing them together for fun, fellowship and forays back into the school and labs rekindles memories and touches their hearts.”
This isn’t North’s first time organizing an event for her class. As a student, she worked with her classmates to organize the Miles for Smiles 5K that benefited the school’s Missions of Mercy project. As a Reunion class chair, she helped plan events such as the Molar Roller Student and Alumni Bike Ride, the annual golf tournament, the Class of 2013 party and other fundraising activities. She’s also had the chance to meet with current students and see how the school has changed over time.
“I wanted to find a way to get more involved since I moved back to Richmond [Virginia],” she says. “I haven’t seen some of my classmates since commencement, so this was the perfect opportunity for me.”
After graduating from VCU in 2013 with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, North completed a residency in pediatric dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she learned to care for patients with complex medical issues, developmental disabilities and children with anxiety or fear of the dentistry setting or oral sedation. She practiced in both Chicago and Charlottesville, Virginia, before returning to Richmond in late 2016.
Since then, she’s reconnected with fellow VCU graduates and friends through Richmond Dental Society meetings and other VCU events but, for North, helping with Reunion Weekend is special. The festivities start this weekend, and she’s excited to reconnect with classmates, celebrate their accomplishments and catch up for the first time in years.
“The longer we’re in practice, the more pride we have in our education from VCU,” North says. “I hope that we’ve made it a memorable event for everyone.”