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Linking Generations

More than 140 years ago, the newest graduates of the Boston Dental School took their diplomas and began professional careers. But before they could forget their fellow alumni, they met and created an organization that would ensure they and future alumni would keep in touch, share professional knowledge, and give back to the school that had trained them.

They created what has—over time and the merging of schools—evolved into the Tufts University Dental Alumni Association (TUDAA).

The association has grown from a handful of men to a diverse body of thousands, and its community-building spirit has only strengthened. It all starts on day one, says TUDAA President John Millette, D91, A15P, when the TUDAA welcomes first-year students to the Tufts fold at orientation. The volunteer efforts to help students succeed and stay connected continue through their time at One Kneeland Street and beyond.

The TUDAA’s support for current students includes financial aid and other philanthropy. A great annual tradition is the Dental Wide Open Golf and Tennis Tournament, which helps raise money for the student loan fund. The TUDAA has raised nearly $550,000 in support of the fund since 1986. And this year $113,000 was awarded to help 17 current dental students close the gap on their educational costs.

Fourth-year students can thank the TUDAA for financially supporting their class book and senior class dinner, a timely mentoring and networking opportunity. The TUDAA also subsidizes all reunion and homecoming programming for its recent graduates. In addition, the association subsidizes the award-winning Dental Medicine magazine, giving $30,000 annually to keep the presses printing.

“The Tufts experience is a lifetime continuum,” says Millette. “The university does a fantastic job of sending graduates into the world; now it’s our job to help them transition into and make the most of this great alumni community.”