Bulletin of Dental Education

VCU SOD Dental Hygiene Program Celebrates 50th Anniversary

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Dental hygiene alumni from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry (VCU SOD) were recognized at the school’s reunion in April. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the program, “Nifty Fifty” awards were presented to honor peer-nominated alumni for their commitment to the profession, community and school.

Dr. Ann Dinius, right, accepts an honorary
award from Michelle McGregor, M.Ed., Director
of the VCU Dental Hygiene Program.
The award recognizes Dr. Dinius for bringing
dental hygiene to the VCU SOD in Richmond, VA.
VCU SOD is the only dental school in the
Commonwealth of Virginia.

Ann Dinius, RDH, Ph.D., M.S., the program’s founder, remembers when it all began.

“I had returned [to the United States] from a year at the University of Utrecht Dental Institute where I helped develop the curriculum for the first dental hygiene program in Europe,” she says. “Now I was to begin my newest challenge: develop a baccalaureate degree dental hygiene program for a well-regarded dental school established in 1893. The Medical College of Virginia had just been combined with Richmond Professional Institute to form Virginia Commonwealth University.”

Along with a car she acquired in the Netherlands, Dr. Dinius arrived in Richmond equipped with a bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, a master’s degree from Columbia University, dental public health and clinical practice experience, and previous faculty appointments at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and the University of Washington School of Dentistry. It was January 1969.

“An announcement to the Virginia dental community had stated an entering class to the new Dental Hygiene Program would be accepted for Fall 1969,” Dr. Dinius remembers. “Applicants were to have completed two years of liberal arts study. There was a lot to be done over the next few months!”

Her efforts paid off. The entire dental hygiene Class of 1971 passed the National Board Examination and achieved Virginia dental hygiene licensure.

“I’m proud to have had a part in developing VCU’s Dental Hygiene Program and prouder of the students’ and graduates’ accomplishments,” says Dr. Dinius.  

“Nifty Fifty” award winners at the VCU SOD
April Reunion. These 50 dental hygiene alumni
were recognized by their peers for their
service to the dental hygiene profession and
for their professionalism and commitment to the profession.

Courtesy of Nan Johnson, Director of Communications, VCU SOD

Published on August 14, 2019

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