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a coNverSatioN with

Joseph rumfola

the president of the UB Dental alumni association describes the organization and explains the value of getting involved.

What are your duties as president of the alumni association?

nect for dentists who are looking to hire or sell and dentists who are looking for jobs.

in terms of actually making the association run, i’d say my duties are basically ceremonial. i chair the meetings of the executive council. When anyone wants to speak with an official of the association, that call goes to the president. i make minor financial deci- sions. i give the alumni address at commencement. And when we hand out awards or when an event calls for words from the association, that’s me.

How did you get involved in leadership?

i’ve been a member of the executive committee for a while—five years. i was approached by russ Nisen- gard a few years ago to be secre- tary of the association. russ has worn all kinds of hats here—he was interim dean when i was a dental student and he was dean for postgraduate affairs at the time he asked me to consider becoming an officer—so he was both a boss and someone i re- spected—and i said yes. Of course he didn’t tell me what that turns into. the immediate past president, Josh Grant, was asked by russ to be the vice presidenttheyre both periodontists, so that was a connection—and he didn’t realize that would automatically make him president.

How large is the association?

How does the association support students?

We do a number of things every year. We are a year- book sponsor; we provide refreshments for the pa- tients who are here for board exams for seniors; we give awards to junior and senior students; we fund the nameplates affixed to the operatories when students graduate; we support the senior award banquet, the Billy Barue golf tournament, student travel to the ASDA research conference, the Hanau Cup hockey game, and we contribute to the Buffalo Outreach and Community Assistance (BOCA). And we give new

graduates the privileges of dues-paying members for two years at no cost.

We also try to respond to student requests for other kinds of help, such as setting up occasions when students can meet and interact with community practitioners to hear firsthand about practice in the real world.

that depends on how you define it. last year we had a total of 4,678 alums. Every alumnus gets this maga- zine. Of that number, 1,640 are dues-paying members.

What does the association do?

We act as a liaison between graduates and the school. i think we’re focused more now on how the school is doing financially—a lot of alumni were here when the school was completely state funded—so we’re trying to do what we can to get the word out about develop- ment efforts at the school. We also support student activities in the school.

the dental meeting and the reunions, of course, are main activities. the Buffalo Niagara Dental Meet- ing is the 15th-largest dental meeting in the U.S., which is saying something, considering how small the market is here. And we hold the five-year reunion din- ner dance on Friday night of the meeting.

We maintain the database of alumni for the school and we also maintain the Web site DDS Con-

Who does the day-to-day work of the association?

Marilyn Sulzbach, the executive secretary of the as- sociation, supported by Sherry Szarowski and Carol McCourt. lisa Jerebko handles the dental meeting details.

Why should alumni get involved in the association?

Alumni who get actively involved with the association are naturally much more involved with the school. For instance, alumni are helping with curriculum review and reform, so we can influence the future of the pro- fession. We have two alumni members on the dean search committee, so we have an opportunity to influ- ence the leadership of the school.

And we can use help. there’s a lot to do and there is a group of stalwart members who have been doing this work for a long time—especially the meeting and the reunions. Getting involved with the association would be a great way to honor them.

16 ubdentist Summer 2009

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