The Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC has marked its entrance into the Campaign for the University of Southern California, announcing a fundraising goal of $115 million.
The kickoff was celebrated with a picnic and presentations on March 23 on the University Park campus and at the school’s annual Friends of Dentistry Gala on March 24 in Beverly Hills.
The goal is the largest on record for any U.S. dental institution and chiefly will be directed to endowed student scholarships, faculty recruitment and retention, and facilities improvements. The announcement comes as the school celebrates its 115th anniversary this year.
Prior to the picnic in Founders Park, Ostrow School faculty, staff, students and alumni gathered in the Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre for presentations by Dean Avishai Sadan, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs Elizabeth Garrett, associate professor Richard Kahn DDS ’64 and dental student Vanessa Leewing.
Sadan, who welcomed the audience and introduced a short film on the campaign initiative, spoke to audience members about their importance to the school.
“When you’re a part of the Ostrow School community, you are a part of something special,” he said. “You are a part of the school that in the last decade has reached more than 650,000 patients, the school that annually publishes dozens of cutting-edge discoveries and, most importantly, the school that has educated more than 10,000 of the best dental professionals in the world.”
Garrett spoke of the school’s important role in the reputation of USC as a whole.
“More than a century of distinction in the field of dentistry has brought widespread respect and acclaim to the members of our Ostrow School’s academic and practicing communities, and this success is reflected on the entire University of Southern California,” Garrett said. “Remember, however, that these last 115 years will be just a fragment on the timeline of the Ostrow School’s history; there is more to achieve, and you are positioned to take bold steps moving forward.”
Garrett also introduced Ralph Allman ’57, DDS ’62, MS ’66, chairman of the Ostrow School of Dentistry Board of Councilors. Allman and members of the board joined Garrett on stage as she announced a comprehensive $10 million commitment from the board.
Kahn shared memories from his nearly 52 years at the school.
“I am proud of my association with the Ostrow School. It’s a wonderful place to work, and it’s been a wonderful place for me to learn and teach,” Kahn said. “I am confident we will continue and improve on our tradition of educational excellence.”
Leewing spoke of why she chose the Ostrow School for her dental education and the powerful educational and volunteer opportunities she has had in her first two years.
“I’ve had a lot of really great experiences since coming to USC,” she said. “I am so glad I chose the Ostrow School for my education, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the school.”
The next day, the school hosted the Friends of Dentistry Gala for members of the Friends of Dentistry support group, Ostrow School faculty, and the school’s other alumni and friends. Speakers included USC president C. L. Max Nikias, Sadan and Friends of Dentistry chairperson Vivian Chui ’82, DDS ’86.
Sakae Keith Tanaka, Ostrow School associate professor emeritus, was honored with the inaugural Friends of Dentistry Excellence in Education Award for his more than four decades of exemplary mentorship to Ostrow students, especially residents in the advanced orthodontics program.
“Dr. Tanaka inspired, encouraged, shepherded and nurtured generations of students,” Chui said. “He was always there for us – day or night, rain or shine. He helped make us who we are, and in the process he touched our lives and left an indelible mark.”
Sadan recognized Board of Councilors members at the event for their $10 million commitment to the school and spoke about its 115-year impact on the profession and on the lives of its students and graduates.
“For some, [the Ostrow School] is the place where you met and surpassed academic challenges while summoning strength and confidence you never knew you had. For others, it is where you learned just how rewarding it feels to ease the pain of someone in need,” Sadan said. “It is our business and passion to make sure that the [school] continues to be the place where current and future students become the world’s best dental professionals and have life-altering experiences.”