Dr. Matthew Olmsted recently received one of our University’s most prestigious recognitions, the Boka Hadzija Award for Distinguished Service. This award, presented annually by UNC’s Graduate School, recognizes the graduate/professional student who best demonstrates exemplary character, scholarship, leadership and service with the greater University community in mind. Dr. Olmsted was selected based on the breadth and depth of his activities within and beyond the School of Dentistry and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Olmsted earned his dental degree with honors in 2008 and recently completed his master’s degree in orthodontics. Throughout his time at UNC, Dr. Olmstead distinguished himself with impressive academic, teaching and leadership achievements.
Most recently, he served as the senator for graduate dentistry students on the Graduate and Professional Student Federation, as the graduate student representative to the student government association in the School of Dentistry, and the graduate student representative on the Dean’s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusiveness. He was elected treasurer, vice president and president of the Spurgeon Dental Society and was chosen as the single graduate student representative for several important School of Dentistry committees.
A gifted teacher and clinician, Dr. Olmsted is well-known for his devotion to his profession, patients, peers and community. Locally Dr. Olmsted volunteers with the Student Health Action Coalition to provide patient care services to underserved populations. Dr. Olmsted also acted globally, previously serving with the Humanitarian Dental Mission to the Republic of Moldova providing dental care to orphans, as a student ambassador to create an international program of cooperation and exchange between dental schools, and as an extern providing therapeutic dental care to members of the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana.
“Dr. Matthew Olmsted is exactly the type of young person Boka Hadzija was so talented at discovering and encouraging: someone who mirrors her absolutely unquestioned professional competence, a burning desire to help and support others, and a charismatic personality that pervades both personal and professional life,” said Dr. H. Garland Hershey, Jr., professor of orthodontics, who nominated Dr. Olmsted for the award. “His child and adult patients love him, the dental students respect him, his fellow residents like him, and the faculty are proud of him for what he does each and every day.”