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Dental School "Rapid Response Team" to honor beloved mentor and colleague

Christine Benoit, D77, D09P, and Robert Amato, D80, DG83, may have set a new fundraising record: in honor of their longtime mentor and colleague Dr. Vangel R. Zissi, D62, DG67, A02P, Benoit and Amato convened a group of former students and friends to fund one of the School of Dental Medicine's new state-of-the-art operatories-in just two weeks.

"Everyone we called to join our efforts leapt at the chance to honor this great man who has been such a leader, teacher, mentor, and friend to all of us in the Tufts community," says Benoit.

One of the first graduates of the school's postdoctoral endodontics program and a professor at Tufts for decades, Zissi has been a part of the dental school's community since his matriculation 51 years ago. Now director of its Division of Continuing Education and a leader in the International College of Dentists, Zissi is widely recognized throughout the dental community for his expertise in the practice of endodontics and his dedication to service.

"All the people I contacted about our effort told me that their lives would not be as good-that the entire profession of dentistry would not be as good-were it not for Dr. Zissi," says Amato, who joined Zissi's dental practice after completing postdoctoral training in endodontics at Tufts. "He and I have worked together for 28 years and he continues to give me important guidance," he adds. "Dr. Zissi helps everyone he meets."

That's why it's especially fitting that the new operatory, a private treatment room, is to be named for him on the 11th floor of One Kneeland Street as part of the Dental School's Vertical Expansion Initiative.

"The operatory will allow Tufts to continue offering the best in postdoctoral education and the excellence in patient care that the school is known for," says Benoit. "By carrying Dr. Zissi's name, our operatory can inspire everyone in the Tufts community to be more like him: big-hearted, caring, committed to doing what's best for the patient, and committed to making the world a better place."

Both Benoit and Amato say Dr. Zissi has led by example, inspiring them to remain deeply involved with Tufts, whether as class reunion chairs; committee members for the Dental School's M Club, which is the Dental Fund giving society composed of different levels of giving; or via service on the Dental Alumni Association Executive Board. Zissi himself says he cannot imagine a better honor than to have colleagues and former students contribute in his name to building a better Tufts. "I am humbled by this overwhelming response," Zissi says. "I love what I do and it has been my pleasure to serve Tufts."

For more information on naming an operatory contact:
Maria Tringale
Senior Director, Development and Alumni Relations
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
75 Kneeland St.
Boston, MA 02111
Phone: 617.636.2783
Fax: 617.627.3180