Dr. Stephen Pachuta's message from the dean April 2024

Dear fellow alumni and friends of the School of Dentistry,

It is hard to believe we are three weeks from commencement for the class of 2024. Every year, each dean provides a message to their graduates for inclusion in the commencement program. Since many of you do not attend the ceremony, I thought we would share some thoughts from my message to our 2024 graduates.

  • Your graduation is a significant lifetime achievement and the result of many years of hard work and personal sacrifice. Your accomplishments are a direct reflection of your unwavering commitment to excellence in education and professional service.
  • Thank you for choosing West Virginia University and the WVU School of Dentistry for your studies. Your School of Dentistry family is incredibly proud of you and shares in your excitement. You will forever be the “Class of 2024.” Your shared experiences and journey together as a class are formative. It is important that, as classmates, you remain connected as members of each other’s professional network.
  • Center your purpose. It is not static and evolves and matures as you grow personally and professionally. As healthcare professionals, your commitment to clinical excellence, safety and high-quality, patient-centered care must be at the very epicenter of our profession and your practice. Maintaining a strong focus on the needs of our patients is a core value of our profession. The profession of dentistry is dynamic and changing rapidly. The importance of life-long learning and continuing professional education has never been more important — stay engaged, stay current and stay relevant for our patients.
  • Commencement is a day of celebration and appreciation. Celebrating your accomplishments is well-earned and very well-deserved. Sharing your appreciation with family, friends and loved ones for their encouragement and support is a must.

It is fitting that today’s message and e-news comes on the eve of the WVU School of Dentistry Alumni Association’s annual Alumni Weekend celebration. This weekend we will especially recognize the 25th anniversary for the Class of 1999 and the 50th anniversary for the class of 1974. On a personal note, I am looking forward to next year when the class of 1985 will celebrate the 40th anniversary of our graduation — I am confident we will have a great turnout. 😊

Last week we had our accreditation site visit. I wanted to share with you that during the opening statement of their out-brief, the team showcased the warm, positive and inviting culture that we have here at our school. They were absolutely wowed by our students, staff and faculty. It is a direct reflection on each and every student, staff and faculty member at our school and goes to their level of commitment to serving our patients and our profession. The team also recognized and highlighted our rural rotation program and the community service provided by our students in dental practices throughout the state. This program goes to the core mission of WVU as a land-grant university in giving back to the people of West Virginia. I know many of you are faculty members who directly support our rural rotation program — thank you again for your always-strong support of our students. Our overall site visit went well. We are a better school because of this visit.

Lead well at every engagement. Thank you for all you do for our School and especially for our students and those entrusted to our care.

Warmest regards,

Stephen Pachuta