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Permanent link  Opening Session pays tribute to dentistry leaders


by Joanna Brown

View photos from the 2012 Midwinter Meeting Opening Session

It was with great spirit and enthusiasm that Chicago Dental Society President John Gerding opened the 147th Midwinter Meeting Thursday, Feb. 23.

“I hope that you find the Midwinter Meeting as exciting and as much fun as I do,” he told the hundreds of Midwinter Meeting attendees who had gathered in the Skyline Ballroom for the Opening Session. “We believe the Midwinter Meeting will once again afford you the opportunity to learn, see new products, and interact with colleagues. We trust that you will agree that Teeth and All That Jazz will fulfill your Midwinter Meeting attendance goals and objectives.”

With Midwinter Meeting general chair Dean Nicholas at the podium, the program went on to honor several guests.

Gordon Christensen joined Dr. Nicholas on stage first to present the Recognition Lecturer Award named for Dr. Christensen, who has a record of outstanding contributions to both the dental profession and the Midwinter Meeting.  This year the Christensen Award was presented to Joseph Maggio.

Dr. Nicholas then called attention to Terry Dickenson and Bruce Bergstrom, recipients of the George H. Cushing Award. Honorees are selected annually by the Communications Committee for their efforts to raise public awareness about the importance of public health.

“Dr. Dickenson is the executive director of the Virginia Dental Association and the founder of the Mission of Mercy (MOM) projects,” Dr. Nicholas said. “Since 2000, MOM events across America have been providing free dental care to the underserved. Mr. Bergstrom is the executive director of the America’s Dentists Care Foundation and has helped donate and supply the equipment to the MOM events. Mr. Bergstrom accepted the award, as Dr. Dickenson was unable to attend the Opening Session.

James Robinson, a CDS Foundation trustee, was then called to the stage to present the first CDS Foundation Vision Award. The award aims to honor outstanding volunteer achievement and philanthropy.

The late Dr. Michael Stablein, who served CDS as president in 2010 and is celebrated by friends and colleagues as a champion for access to care, was the first honoree. M. Caroline Scholtz, wife of the late Dr. Stablein, accepted the posthumous award.

“Our final recognition tonight is for a colleague and a friend that we lost way too soon,” Dr. Nicholas said, speaking of CDS past president the late Dr. Leo Finley, Jr. Dr. Finley died in August, and was honored by the Illinois State Dental Society House of Delegates in the fall.

In addition, the Illinois House of Representatives 97th General Assembly adopted House Resolution 563, offered by Rep. Renee Kosel, acknowledging Dr. Finley’s commitment and dedication to dentistry. He served not only CDS, but also the U.S. Army, Ilinois State Dental Society, Dent-IL-PAC, and the American Dental Association. 

Several members of Dr. Finley’s family, including his wife of 50 years, Alicia, accepted the resolution from Dr. Nicholas at the Opening Session. 

After the final accolade, the announcer called one last guest to the stage: Ryan Baker, who brought to the stage the spirit of Frank Sinatra. With stage credits that cross the country, Mr. Baker transported the audience back in time and paid tribute to the Chairman of the Board.