It is such a pleasure seeing all of you here today. One can hardly imagine that we have not met in person since 2019. During those years, we have navigated through extreme uncertainty, a once-in-a-century pandemic and threats to social justice and truth.
But here we are; focused, stronger than ever, and dedicated to the tenets of our organization. Omicron Kappa Upsilon represents and promotes the highest standards of the profession and is the epitome of academic excellence and professionalism.
The OKU precepts and principles are needed now—more than ever before—in our profession. I am struck by the level of negativity and lack of engagement existing in our institutions and general interactions.
OKU standards and behavior need to be emulated to a higher degree in our dental institutions. Too often, we keep the light of OKU “hidden under a bushel,” as quoted by Dr. William Davenport Jr. in his President’s Centennial OKU address in 2014. I wrestled with the notion of letting my little light shine.
So, in November, 2021, my family and I established the Dean Kenneth B. Chance Endowed Distinguished Lectureship series in honor of the 130th anniversary of the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine.
Each lecture will feature a distinguished leader (preferably an OKU member) who will present a topic and perspective—not only in the field of dental medicine, but those that are over-arching in scope and relevance.
These lectures will be relatable to students and professionals in cross-disciplinary fields, to promote necessary dialogue and meaningful interactions, contributing to the better understanding of complex issues that confront our society.
With this vision in mind, Dr. Jon Suzuki our Executive Secretary/Treasurer, who has served in this position for three decades, graciously accepted to be the inaugural presenter for this lectureship on November 17, 2022.
His topic was, “Excellence: the Pathway to Leadership.” Uniquely qualified, he holds faculty positions and clinical professorships at U.S. Navy Walter Reed National Medical Center, University of Washington, University of Maryland, and Nova Southwestern University, and is also the Chair of the Dental Products Advisory Panel for the Federal Drug Administration. Dr. Suzuki’s presentation; informed, challenged, motivated and inspired our audience.
I challenge you, our members, to find new ways to let our OKU light shine—for the betterment of our profession of dentistry and society as a whole.
We must be intentional and unapologetic in our efforts to do so.
I would like to take this moment to truly thank the membership of OKU for the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors for the past four years.